Many people in our country are feeling quite anxious at the moment. Racism, greed, corruption and violent crime seem out of control.
What would you say South Africa needs most of all right now?
Is it a better education system; fairer distribution of economic resources; more understanding between cultural groupings; an end to all corruption; more practical love and care between the rich and poor; or the apprehension of criminals?
I dare say that all these things are sorely needed.
But what we need most of all is the gospel of Jesus. Because only the gospel can save and transform people – for this world and the world to come.
Once people are saved and transformed by Jesus, one will see the good things, listed above, happening more and more.
If we believe this, then our priority should be gospel ministry. Our extra time, energy and income should be invested in the gospel – helping people find eternal life.
Every year at our church we have a “Planned Giving Sunday” when we ask our members and friends to prayerfully consider their giving to the church. We don’t use coercion or guilt. We don’t say “Give to Get!” We simply remind the church of the importance of gospel ministry. This year I reminded the church of Zacchaeus.
Once a year, every year, we have a “Planned Giving Sunday” at our church and we teach about giving and challenge our church to make a monthly financial pledge so that we can budget for the next year. The giving is not policed or tracked; we leave it to the individual’s conscience before the Lord.
Our church, as I’m sure yours, is a non-profit organisation and our aim is not to make money but disciples of Jesus. Our aim is to see people transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light and transformed to be more and more like Jesus. As a church we will work hard to that end by praying and by teaching the gospel. Yet we need money to do this. We need to pay the rent, pay salaries, pay insurance, pay the bills, support missionaries, sponsor mission trips and help those who struggle financially.
When God converts us, he changes our attitudes to everything. Our attitude changes to the Bible, entertainment, dating, politics, work and money. Before we became Christians money was a god to be worshipped at any cost and we would sacrifice all before the altar of success, but now we see all we have as entrusted to us by God. We see the value of being content and we seek to be generous just as God has been generous to us. Being a Christian changes everything. In fact, the Bible tells us there is a fundamental connection between our spiritual lives and how we think about and handle money.