J.D. Walt commented on George Barna’s research that we have learned to grow churches without really growing people. We can get people into the church, but we can’t get them into Christ.

While there may be many possible reasons, may I suggest that at the heart of this symptom lies a familiar culture that has blurred the line between holiness and sin? Sin isn’t really all that bad, and holiness is easier to achieve than Christ makes it appear.

When we’re trusting in Visa, the stock market and a paycheck, it should be no surprise that we’re worried about sin. Trusting in the culture holds us back from genuinely pleasing God.

What we do with faith determines what we do with money. But what we do with money can seriously undermine our faith. A familiar culture blurs the lines when faith matters most.

Mary DeMuth attributes idolatry to control. If we pray to the rain god and it rains, then we feel we are in control over our environment. Perhaps if we appease the gods with our best food, we will someday be blessed with fortune, and that will make our starvation worthwhile. If I put one more month’s of bills on Visa, surely next month God will do something special.

But control is an illusion when we’re not honoring God. While we think we are controlling our circumstances through charging daily living needs, our lives are headed off the cliff. If I’m really in control of my life, then it shouldn’t be headed in that direction ... or it doesn’t say much about my ability to be in control.


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    Climbing the Money Tree


    R. Joseph Ritter, Jr. CFP® is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER(TM) and founder of Zacchaeus Financial Counseling, Inc., a non-profit organization providing financial planning services to low-income households and households experiencing financial strain.

    View my profile on LinkedIn