Money Talks!

Throughout modern history, rock groups have released songs about money.  Some more popular ones that make reference to money include the Beatles’ “Can’t Buy Me Love,” Pink Floyd’s “Money,” and Calloway’s “I Want To Be Rich.”  Then there are the songs about money, but those which relate more specifically to the lifestyle-chasing people aspire to in the name of having money.  The two songs I most often think about which relate to lifestyle-chasing through money are “Rockstar” by Nickelback and AC/DC’s 1990 hit, “Moneytalks.”  “Rockstar” details all the reasons people want to be famous – dress in the latest fashions, sex access, get prominent positioning, be in the famous “flow” of things, and have access to anything you want – at a moment’s notice.  “Moneytalks” intrigues me for a different reason, because it’s about a woman who hustles sex for money, thus to achieve status.

The refrain of the song “Moneytalks” echoes with me most loudly:

Come on come on, love me for the money
Come on, come on, listen to the money talk
Come on come on, love me for the money
Come on, come on, listen to the money talk

In today’s church, I think we can universally agree that there are an awful lot of ministries chanting the lyrics to this song, just in different words – and are hustling for a lifestyle through money, just like the woman in the song.  Come on, come on – follow my ministry because we have money.  Come on, come on – listen to the money talk.  We’ll even give you testimonies of people who supposedly got what they want because they gave us money!  Come on, come on…listen to the money talk!  Anyone who is listening hears it is speaking loud and clear.  Smaller, more unknown ministries struggle as people expect us to compete with larger ministries, and when we can’t, they don’t want to support us.  It doesn’t seem to matter what day of the year a big-name preacher holds an event – people will just about stop living to get there – but if a smaller ministry holds an event, there always seems to be a reason why someone can’t make it.  Famous preachers can preach any assortment of nonsense and people still send their money, while small preachers sit up with you all night and pray at all hours and you can’t seem to send them a dime.

I’ve been asked why I think this is, and my answer is the song above: listen to the money talk.  The church today has a “kiss up spirit” (and yeah, when I said it the first time, I used a different word than “up” but I am not going to do that here).  People with this type of spirit think if they can just press their way to that event with the big-name preacher, that big name preacher will somehow notice them and give them something.  Let’s get real, the big-name preacher is not going to see you in the room full of 20,000-60,000 other people all hoping for the same thing.  You’re just going to go and spend a lot of money to get there and be out that money.  And, quite honestly, doing this makes you nothing more than a spiritual hustler.  We’ve made modern-day faith about the pursuit of the American dream instead about the Kingdom of God – which, for the record, are not the same thing.  Because we want a lifestyle instead of a relationship with God, we’re seeing God as a means to chase that lifestyle, and big-name wealthy preachers as the way to get it. 

I don’t question that God promises He will take care of His believers.  Prosperity is God’s economy, because we cannot depend on the world to meet our needs.  Prosperity, however, does not equate to the American dream of houses and churches so large people can’t even find their way around in them.  It does not equate to sitting on piles of money that were obtained dishonestly and yes, sometimes, even in violation to charitable status.  It does not equate to buildings and items that are gained off the backs of slave labor and the sweat of the poor, who remain that way as the rich get richer.             

As the church, we need to stop listening to the money talk.  We need to start hearing what God is saying to us, in season and out of season.  God has something to say to every one of us, despite our circumstances.  It is not going to forever be, “God is giving you something.”  Sometimes God wants us to hear His voice unto correction, at other times it is encouragement, at other times, it is to distance ourselves from things or people in our lives that may be blocking our relationship with Him, and still yet, it may just be a word to maintain and remain constant through this period in time. Let’s also never forget, God still loves a cheerful giver, and if we are simply giving and sowing constantly for no other reason but to reap, we have missed the point of giving entirely.

It’s time to want to be a part of what God is doing that is exciting – being a part of God’s experience – instead of chasing after the American dream disguised as faith.  I’m tired of hearing money talk every time I turn on the television, go to a church to visit rather than to minister, or sometimes, even talk to people in nominal conversation online.  God does not encourage any one of us to a lifestyle of greed, but to service.  Instead of sitting back and constantly looking for what we can get from God, maybe we need to start considering what He is asking us to do as citizens in His Kingdom.  Yes, it takes money to do ministry.  I don’t question that at all, not in the least.  But it also takes a lot more than just money to do ministry: it also takes faith, and a solid belief that God can and does work today.  Money may be talking, but it certainly cannot produce an apostolic experience.

Let’s never forget that God’s people throughout history have often been poor, common people who did extraordinary things through God.  They believed in tithes, offerings, and doing right by God and those who worked in God’s service, year in and year out.  It’s time for us to get back to basics, lower our expectations on artificial designs and orchestrated nonsense, and start experiencing the work and love of God in our lives, communities, churches, and ministries.

(And now that I wrote this note, maybe AC/DC will stop coming on the radio every time I am in the car. LOL!)

(c) 2013 Lee Ann B. Marino.  All rights reserved.   

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