M. E. Rosson
House of Prayer or Den of Thieves?
There has been a great movement in the past two decades, in the hopes of modernizing and reaching out to people, to have events like Craft Fairs, Yard Sales and even paid concert events in the Church. I was doing my daily devotion and come across this:
12 And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves,
13 And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.
Now I don't want to criticize or cast blame on brothers and sisters in Christ, but I would like to suggest that we dial all this back a bit, before we cross a line. Jesus was confronting people who were making money from religion and there are millions of people who do just that, even today! I am not talking about real ministry, where donations and giving help reach people with the Gospel, which should be the ultimate goal of any Christian Ministry, but people who create so called Non-profits and yet do little or nothing more than social work, but do so in the name of the Church! Franklin Graham, on every commercial about Samaritan's purse makes a point to tell you they go in Jesus' Name! All ministry should be about reaching people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I have had people ask me personally about being a Christian Author and that ministry. I sell most of my over 100 books for 99cents or less, which is the Kindle and Nook minimum for E-Books and I sell my printed books for publisher minimum, which does not make them very happy. I also send hundreds of free books a year to people who ask, why?
When I was a young teen, I discovered a Christian Singer by the name of Keith Green. He has some amazing music and I sent a letter to him at age twelve with 2 dollars in it asking if that was enough for an old album of his, he sent me his entire collection and told me that Pretty Good Records was a ministry and that whatever I wanted to donate was good enough! A couple of years later I was leading a Bible Study at my Junior High and wanted to get some books, so I wrote the Billy Graham Association asking them to recommend a good bible study book for our study and lo and behold, a large box showed up with a whole case of books with a letter from one of the staff telling me to write and let them know if I needed any more! It was then that I realized that Christian Ministry did cost money, but if someone could not pay, they should not be excluded from that ministry!
Let's put the NON back in Non-profit and remove vending machines and coffee shops from our Churches that require money. When Church becomes a pay to play type of activity, we have then crossed the line that Jesus said we should not! If Jesus came into your Church, would he kick over any tables? That is question that we must all ask ourselves!
Pastor M. E. (Mark) Rosson