The things money can do is amazing. It can even cure you of disease. Or can it?
There is a common belief held by most televangelists; that sowing a seed, preferably one of cash, will bless your life. It was a strange belief the first time I’d heard of it, but as I’ve grown and learned more about who God is, this belief is truly quite frightening.
One of my favourite youtube shows these last couple of days has been Last Week Tonight, with John Oliver. John is a comedian newsman who takes popular stories in the news and gives them a comedic spin, proving a new point for each subject. One of the episodes was about televangelists, and for the first time I really began to worry about what these people were/are doing.
An example from the video includes John sending letters to a certain pastor. The first letter sent was a simple query to join the minister’s mailing list. He received a thank you letter, and that was that. The second letter however, was where things got disturbing. The letter contained a one dollar bill, instructing to send it back “With your best prove God tithes and offerings.” The recommended was thirty-seven dollars. This went on for another couple of letters, when he eventually received a letter containing three packets of colored oil to pour on the letters and send back….with more money. Another couple of letters later, John received a manila envelop containing a check inside. He thought, Great, now that I’ve seeded, I’ve got my harvest! However, inside was a check, from John, of five dollars for the church. This went on for seven more letters (including sending colored fabric with more money) before finally receiving another one dollar bill. This time he was instructed to put it in his Bible for one night, then send it back with a seed faith gift of forty-nine dollars, all so he can bless it with oil and send it back with a blessed one dollar bill! The pastor then added in the note, “I must warn you, not to rob God with your tithes and offerings,” then in bold type he was instruced to not keep that dollar bill at any cost. Finally John gave up and kept the dollar bill.
Where this gets frightening is when these letters are being received by people who can’t afford what these pastors are asking for. They’re told that by giving money, God will bless their lives, and in some cases, heal them of disease. Sadly, as seen in a case on John’s show, it ends badly. These people aren’t to be faulted in their decision, it’s who these pastors proclaim God is. In order to receive healing or abundant life, we need to give him money or else He will simply stand back and watch us suffer.
This is far from the truth.
The concept of sowing seeds is strangely familiar to the offering of blood in Old Testament times in order to be healthy and blessed. However, God sent His son to die so we no longer have to give gifts in the form of blood. Christ has already paid our debt, but still we’re instructed to give money the same way those in the Old Testament sacrificed animals. Even worse, they show God as a being who doesn’t give us life unless we first give Him everything.
The good news is that Christ gave His life on the cross, for us. He constantly offers us life and healing, He only asks that we take it. We aren’t told to first offer our own because we can’t. Our lives are corrupt, black to the core with sin. By ourselves, we are an unholy offering, which is why Christ offers us His blood for free. It’s the freedom of the cross that makes us want to give Him all we have, not out of obligation, but out of love and joy. God is not a selfish God, He’s a selfless God. No guy will ever win over a girl by demanding she give him her life, so it is the same with God. We only love because He loved us first.
So I want to encourage you today. Don’t live any longer in guilt and bondage and obligation over your performance and offerings, but rest in His work on the cross, and in His offering of life. It’s something no amount of money can buy.