Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard-pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your money will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need.
2 Corinthians 9:13.
At some point, you’ve got to deal with God and money. And, to my mind, this text is one of the major pieces of the Second Testament leading us to ask significant, costly questions about mature discipleship:
“Lord, what do you want me to do differently with what I have?”
“What should I be doing with my possessions and resources in order to line up with Jesus’ teachings and example?”
“What should I be giving, holding in trust or sharing?”
“What do other people need that I have that I can give away?”
“Is it worth it to give my money to the church?”
And, of course, the only person that can really answer these questions in your life is you. You shouldn’t be judged for your answers…but you shouldn’t excuse yourself from answering those questions either.
So, in fairness, let me share with you how I’ve answered them…
I’m in a very exciting position because Westwinds is only the second church I’ve ever attended. For many years, I lived with my parents and they forced me to attend their church…as was reasonable. Then I came on staff at the same church, and was compelled to attend once more. But with Westwinds, I had a choice. And I wanted to come to a place where I felt it was worthwhile to give generously and sacrificially.
Let me tell you why…
One of the things I love about this place is we have set ourselves up to cultivate and create spiritual experiences. For a long time I thought Church needed to be spiritual—if I’m going to take time away from my family and leisure, I want to go somewhere and meet with God. I want to go somewhere where the spirit of God can convict me, speak to me, and where I can be caught up in moments of worship and actually have a spiritual experience. I don’t want to go to just hear some neat music or see my friends. I’ve got lots of friends, I own an iPhone. What do I need to do that for? I want to come and meet with God, and meet with you as we together meet with God. It’s no different if you’re the guy talking or the guy singing or the person trying to stay awake while the guy’s talking, because we have something to teach and share with one another. The other colossal thing I love about Westwinds is the freedom. There just aren’t a bunch of extra rules here. You get to come in your street clothes, no matter how good or bad you are. You get to come no matter what your history is. You get to come and participate with God and participate with us.
So, is it worth it to give money to Westwinds?
Absolutely, 100 percent, beyond a doubt, I do it gladly. Not because it’s required, but because I love it.
Dr. David McDonald is the teaching pastor at Westwinds Community Church in Jackson, MI. The church, widely considered among the most innovative in America, has been featured on CNN.com and in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and Time Magazine. David weaves deep theological truths with sharp social analysis and peculiar observations on pop culture. He lives in Jackson with his wife, Carmel, and their two kids. Follow him on twitter (@fossores) or online at fossores.com