Monday, 27 February 2012

Blood Money

“Why people feel they need to leave an offering at every body of water and monument is beyond me.” 
(Photographer’s comment)

I like that. I found that to be an interesting question, full of all sorts of implications.

Obviously this little church building has long since ceased to have a congregation of believers in it, yet the offering plate is still there and the money still continues to come in. Why do people feel the need to continue to leave an offering when they step into a church building? How peculiar.

Though most likely this money was simply thrown there by tourists, much like some people throw coins into a fountain or pool of water, that is not the first thing I thought of when I saw this picture. I didn’t see it as a “wishing well” full of the coins of the superstitious. No, I was reminded of something much more sinister.

The very first thing that entered my mind when I saw this picture was Judas’ remorse at having betrayed Jesus. Notice how Matthew records the event:
When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders. “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.” “What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.” So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself. The chief priests picked up the coins and said, “It is against the law to put this into the treasury, since it is blood money.” (Mt.27:3-6; NIV)
That is the first thing I thought of when I saw this picture with the coins thrown haphazardly into the church building. This led to a second thought, and that is, it is interesting that people continue to “throw” money into church buildings and places of worship. That too is peculiar.

Oh, I know what many of you may be thinking right now; it’s not like that in the churches of today. We don’t irreverently “throw” money into or at church buildings; we do so respectfully and as an offering to God. I know the teachings, for there was a time when I taught them myself. I’ve long since repented of that. But I’ve digressed. I do not wish to belabor what constitutes “real” giving to God here or how much of it really gets to where it is needed most.

Though the deed was done, I suspect that in the end, Judas’ “throwing” the money into the temple at least came from a remorseful and repentant heart.

This raises the question of the state of our hearts when it comes to money. Though in Christ we are made fully right with God, perhaps until we come to the place where we can also “throw” our money (yes, even into the institutional systems), there is still some measure of idolatry in us. Forgive me if that sounds harsh, but as Jesus said, “You cannot serve both God and money” (Mt.6:24).

Maybe when money, and specifically the “love” of it (1Tim.6:10), comes in contact with the church, perhaps it really does become “Blood Money.” Maybe the heart is best tested by how often we also “throw” our money. Is it time for Christians to have a little looser hold on their money? No, I am not trying to make a doctrine of this, but I cannot help but wonder.

That’s the way I see it anyway.

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons "Ghost Town Offering"

1 comment:

  1. Great article..reminds me of "you can't buy your way into heaven" and that is why I think so many people "throw" money at a particular's easy and for the moment makes one feel superior...