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Gimmick or Giving?

June 27, 2007

Is what takes place in many suburban churches giving or gimmick? What I mean is does what we do truly help people in need or give away stuff to those who aren’t needy? I received an offer recently from a hamburger joint that would allow me to get something for free. It was a giveaway but would I call it giving? What was the company’s motive? Make the world a better place or add to their bottom line? Did I need a giveaway or did I just want one?

I could have had a hamburger for free but why? I think their motive was to get me to purchase more than just a hamburger. I think their hope was that I would experience their food and decide to add it to the places that I eat. Is that what motivates church giveaways? Is that okay? Is that actually good? I mean Jesus gave himself away on our behalf so is that not only good but expected?

I don’t really know but I wonder. Sometimes I can be a bit of a jerk about things and it clouds my judgment. Recently we received a card in the mail and my wife responded with, “Nothing says Jesus like…”

Am I the only one with this problem? Is giving away stuff to people who already have more than enough doing what Jesus did? I think we need to be giving but why do we pick so many sad ways to give? I think we should think beyond the gimmicks but may that is just me.

What do you think?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. June 27, 2007 10:01 pm

    Good points. Sometimes I feel like I give so that I have something to hold up to God and say “eh? Eh? See what I did? Now give me……” What an idiot I am….trying to hold God hostage by giving away crap. I know that I rarely give things to people who really need. Maybe I’m the only one.

  2. June 28, 2007 4:35 am

    I guess it comes down to motive. Too often I have experience giving as a hook to get people in to attending church. I remember a family we helped the congregation we were a part of at the time, to have a decent Christmas. We kept getting asked about had they visited yet.

    On the other hand the group we gather with currently does lots of things that don’t seem to have a hook. one example is wrapping presents at the mall during Christmas. People are not told even what church it is, just that we want to share in a very small way the love of Jesus with them. No strings attached.

    I am sure some would argue that the ones wanting attendance do so out of eternal concern. But to me it reeks of a bait and switch.

  3. July 2, 2007 12:38 pm

    I think this is a difficult question, because of the balance between “being salt and light” and “practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them.”

    I agree that much of American Christianity has long been obsessed with being so “heaven-minded” that they were hardly any good at all to actual, real people. But that doesn’t change the fact that the gospel of the kingdom is in part a warning against destruction. Benevolence is good, but if we aren’t finding creative ways to deliver the message, ways that others will find curious (‘speaking in parables’), we’ve only fed someone for a day.

    We’ve got to stop speaking and acting out our message in cliches.


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