Humility is something I’ve seen family members carry out with grace and excellence. The same applies to sacrifice, service, and concern for fellow human beings. Although these characteristics don’t have to have religion attached to them, I have seen my very Christian family execute these aspects flawlessly. They are not perfect people, but they are giving and loving people. Maybe that’s why I’m having a hard time getting why certain pastors attempted to do what they did.
I realize this is nothing new to any person of any faith. In Nichiren Buddhism’s early days, there were false sages and monks who tried to nickel and dime laypeople all the time. In modern-day Christianity, there are plenty of churches and mega-churches asking for dollars and cents all the time. Then, we come to find out they’re using offerings for ulterior objectives. I guess what I’m saying is that because of the example set for me during my years as a Christian, I just don’t….get it. I get it, but I don’t get it.
I kept thinking of my Uncle James. He is the pastor of a church in a town called Paris, TN. It’s called Church of The Living God, and it’s actually a very nice church full of awesome people. I have watched him cultivate, inspire and grow his community and his church with the most noble and humble spirit. He doesn’t pressure people to give what they cannot, and is thankful for every little bit he can get. He is a kind, wise man with a beautiful singing voice and a strong spirit. He provides love and The Word to his parishioners in times of darkness and loss.
He has a team of wonderful people around him who help. He has a loving wife (my aunt) who is his First Lady and a rock. These two have been my example for years. Their church has been an example. If they had that kind of money, they’d still be honest people. Even if they needed a jet, they’d probably be using it to ship food and supplies, or fly children and needy people here and there.
I guess this all has me wondering about the hearts of religious leaders. Why some of them have to live in luxury, while others–like my uncle–are satisfied with working for the people. He has affluent friends, and THEY’RE just as humble and wonderful. So, again, what is it about money that changes certain people’s hearts and ideas?
I think of my uncle, because he’s just a great person who is completely grounded. Not to completely bash everyone who’s a Christian, because not all Christians think with lavish greed in their hearts. I think it’s one thing to raise a lot of money for the greater good outside yourself, as opposed to raising a lot of money to expand on the good things you already have–if that makes any sense. I have met many pastors, preachers, elders (btw my Uncle’s actually called Elder Travis.), and other leaders who do not feel the need to go above and beyond. I admire them.
Money can be a blessing, but it can also be a curse if your head becomes too inflated, and you start going off track. I’ve always had my issues with mega-churches, but I can’t say ALL of them feel the same way about money. A lot of them are just big churches trying to accommodate their people. And they end up doing great things in their communities, for the people, and so forth. They are not all bad, but a few are always under a spotlight for some reason.
I suppose that I wanted to say that when I think of humility, execution of power, and what it means to be a certain kind of “rich”, I think of my Uncle James. He is rich in ways that money could never touch. Just some thoughts. Hopefully I did not offend anyone with them.