Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Corporate Abundance

Speaking of abundance, I wonder if individual believers are only following the pattern that the western church has set forth in lavishing good things upon itself. Jesus told a parable that addresses the prevailing consumeristic attitude of the western church.
In Luke 12, Jesus tells of a rich man whose land was so productive that he had no more room to store his crops. In a quandary as to what to do, he decided to tear down his barns and build bigger ones. God called this man a fool because he laid up treasure for himself, not being rich toward God.
The rich man in this parable bears a striking resemblance to the prosperous church that says, "We have more than what we have room for. Therefore, we'll build bigger facilities to accommodate all that we are taking in."
Question: Does this kind of church fall into the category that Jesus describes as those who lay up treasure for themselves, not being rich toward God?
Secondly, in light of this teaching of Jesus, what should the church do to be rich toward God?

In the case of the rich fool, the aim seems to be at his attitude of "I've done all this -- now I can be lazy and fat and do nothing," which might not be seen as the target goal of the church.

How do you cross the bridge between the goals of the individual and the goals of the church?
jovial cynic,
Thanks for your comment. Your use of the word "fat" reminded me of an experience Juan Carlos Ortiz relates in his book, "Disciple," concerning the church he was pastoring.
"The Holy Spirit began to break me down. The first thing He said was, 'Juan, that thing you have is not a church. It's a business.'
I didn't understand what He meant.
'You are promoting the gospel the same way Coca-Cola sells Coke,' He said, 'the same way Reader's Digest sells books and magazines. You are using all the human tricks you learned in school. But where is My finger in all of this?'
I didn't know what to say. I had to admit that my congregation was more of a business enterprise than a spiritual body.
Then the Lord told me a second thing. 'You are not growing,' He said. 'You think you are, because you've gone from 200 to 600. But you're not growing - you're just getting fat.'
What did that mean?
'All you have is more people of the same quality as before. No one is maturing; the level remains the same. Before, you had 200 spiritual babies; now you have 600 spiritual babies.' "
I'm not sure I understand your question about the goals between the individual and the church. I think where the goals may be the same may be summed up in one word: accumulation.
Ah... I think you answered my question quite well. The increase in "spiritual babies" really expresses the similaries between a rich man and a rich church. Thanks!

I've posted one of your posts over at my blog, under the religion section. I really appreciate your stuff, man.
jovial cynic,
Hey, thanks for your encouragement. I really appreciate it!
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