“A mature Christian must…not be a lover of money.” 1 Timothy 3:3
When I was still pretty much a new Christian, my buddy and I decided to rent some digs in central Florida for a couple of hot summer months. I hadn’t worked for six months, so my friend financed the trip. It was a book-reading fest filled with geckos and fresh oranges just outside our door. And one day per week was our ‘sign-language’ day, for fun.
After a few weeks we decided to go to Tampa to hear this very well know travelling preacher. There was yellin’ and woopin’ and lots of excitement in the auditorium. Mid-scream the evangelist stopped and asked everyone to stand. This was all crazy new to me and, as I watched, men with buckets came down from the platform and flanked the sides.
The preacher shouted out, “Everyone who’s gonna give 500 dollars put it in the bucket and sit down.” Then he yelled, “Everyone who’s giving 100 put it in and sit down.” Then, “Everyone who’s giving 50” and so on. I could see where this was going; he was going to shame everyone into giving him money.
He was an evangelist. He was supposed to be telling people about the free love of Jesus.
I looked beside me and this guy my age swore and then left. I followed. We were outside and he was fuming. I asked him if he was okay and he said, “If this is Christianity then [swear] it.”
I pulled the only money I had out of my pocket and stuffed it in his shirt pocket. I told him that I was a new Christian and didn’t know much, but what I did know was that Jesus wanted to give His love to him, not take the guy’s money.
This weird event was instrumental in helping me, as a young believer, see the power of money, and the power of letting it go.