A hockey game was only a few days away between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Detroit Red Wings. Two co-workers were talking about the upcoming game, one being a Leafs fan, and the other a hard-core supporter of the Red Wings. Each strongly believed that “their” team would be victorious, and the banter between them became a little heated. Then one of them said, “Oh yeah, well put your money where your mouth is!”
And so they each wagered $50 that “their” team would win.
Each believed something so strongly that they not only spoke convincingly about their beliefs with a great deal of fervour, but they would bet their own hard-earned money to back up what they say.
As Christians, we hold some common beliefs based on the doctrines we are given in the Bible. One of those beliefs is that the church is one of the main vehicles that God wishes to use to help the world around us. We are ambassadors for Christ to the ends of the earth, which includes helping those who are less fortunate.
Even in the political realm, you may have heard Christians say that they wish the government would get out of the welfare business, as they believe it is the church’s job to help the poor, not the governments. After all, we have such a great example of the church doing this in the book of Acts. Yet many of the same people attend churches that do very little to help the poor.
Awhile ago I wrote about the endeavour of one of our sister churches. Grace Community Church in Aylmer, Ontario, and how they are starting the process to sponsor a refugee family who has been displaced because of the violence of the Islamic State. In a conversation with their pastor, Randy Fehr, he told me, “Our priorities are revealed in the choices that we make.”
What he meant was that our beliefs are only really our beliefs if we are willing to put our money where our mouth is. Our true priorities, or our true beliefs, are betrayed by our actions. If we profess to loving our spouse, but then never spend any money caring for their needs and neglect their well being, then our love is rightly called into question. Likewise, if we profess to believe one of the roles of the church is to be a group of people that help the less fortunate, yet only spend money and time on our own internal programs, then our true beliefs are revealed. If we really do believe that is important for us to help the poor, it will be shown in our actions. “Our priorities are revealed in the choices that we make.”
Do the actions of our church align with what we profess to believe? If not, something needs to change. Do our actions need to change, or do our beliefs? By and large I think the professed beliefs of our community are good and do not need to change, at least not by much. But do our actions line up with that? Do our actions reveal that our priorities are what we claim they are? Or do they need work?
Luke 6:43-45 says “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”
It is true that the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. I think it is equally true that this principle applies to other areas of life. I believe our actions, as well as our words, reveal what is in our hearts. Matthew 6:21, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Where is our treasure? Is it in our own bank accounts? Or is it wherever our Lord is? If our treasure is our relationship with God, then shouldn’t our treasure be wherever He is? And if our treasure is wherever God is, whom we profess to follow, then we will be investing our time and our money as offerings to our Lord, which will include giving it to the poor and the needy. For Grace Community Church, this has come to include a family in need on the other end of the world, a family who GCC can give a home to.
I know that no church does this perfectly, but my hope is that we can be a people who put our money where our mouth is. I hope that we can be a church who’s professed priorities are revealed not only in paper and in words, but also in the way we spend our money and time, and in the way we treat other people. So go ahead: put your money where your mouth is.