Why Use Money
For The Cause Of Christ
By C. E. Taylor, D. D.
President Wake Forest College
Wake Forest, North Carolina
Wherefore the Lord God of Israel said * * * them that honor me I will honor, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed. - I Sam. 2:30.
Be not wise in thine own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil. Honor the Lord with thy substance, and with the first fruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.
- Prov. 3:7, 9, 10.
BEFORE trying to answer any question it is always desirable to have a clear notion as to the meaning of its several terms. Sometimes it will happen that as soon as these terms are understood in their full content and significance, a query finds itself half answered. Perhaps this may be the case with the question before us.
What then is meant by ”use,” ”money,” and ”the cause of Christ?”
The word ”use” evidently means in this question to employ as an instrument. To use money is not to avail ourselves of it as an end, but as a means to an end.
”Money,” whether regarded as a standard of value or as a medium of exchange, is always a representative of wealth. And the most essential ideas suggested by the term wealth are, first, that it is adapted to gratify human wants, directly or indirectly, and, second, that it is always the product of labor. Even the simplest act of appropriation of the bounty of God in nature requires the exertion of mind and muscle. Now, all exertion, from a physiological point of view, involves the loss of blood. Every movement of the body or of any of its parts destroys muscular tissue. In rebuilding this, fresh blood is necessarily consumed. The same is true, though to a much greater extent, in mental work, for which the brain is the organ. No thought, sensation, desire, or volition is possible without the loss of blood in repairing the waste of nerve tissue. The brain is only about one-fortieth of the weight of the whole body. But it uses up about one-fifth of all the blood that the whole body uses.
The blood is the life. That which is used up in work, mental or muscular, is life-blood. Hence it is true that one’s life passes into the products of his labor.
Let us repeat and emphasize this fundamental and important conception of money. Lifeblood goes into one’s labor. Labor is transmuted into products which have utility for the gratification of human wants and thus creates wealth. Of this wealth, money is a representative. Hence, into all the money that we have honestly earned by any kind of work, a part of our life has passed.
The next term to be analyzed is ”Christ’s cause.” We may truly say, I think, that every enterprise which has for its object the spiritual or temporal well-being of men is Christ’s cause. Every hospital for the relief of suffering and the prolonging of life, every library for the dissemination of knowledge, every art gallery for satisfying and increasing the love of the beautiful - all these and many others like them are institutions which have1 the endorsement and sympathy of the divine Master and in a wide, but true sense, may be said to be embraced in the scope of His cause.
All these, however, are secondary. They are only the results of something which is more radical and vital. They are the natural outcome of the growth of the Kingdom of God in the world. For when we pray, ”Thy kingdom come,” we are implicitly asking for improvement in government, amelioration of social order, increase of knowledge and multiplication of charitable institutions.
To aid actively, therefore, in the building up of Christ’s kingdom in the world will be the best and most direct way to aid his cause. The preaching of the gospel everywhere by men called of God to this work is the divinely appointed method for building up the kingdom. Subsidiary to this, but closely related to it, are Sunday schools, Christian education and Christian literature of all kinds.
All who in Christ’s name and for Christ’s sake are preaching, teaching, organizing, writing, or publishing are helpers toward the coming of the kingdom. The same is true of all those who by giving, help others to do these things.
To promote Christ’s cause is. then, first of all to labor for the conversion and consecration of men and women. Success in this means, of course, the advance of Christ’s cause also in the wider sense; for religion, once in the heart, works outward. Each individual, when soundly converted, becomes a constructive force in society. The growth and purity of the churches is the best guarantee of municipal order and of the establishment and support of all kinds of charitable and educational institutions.
Our question, then, resolves itself into this form:
Why should a Christian employ as an instrument for advancing the kingdom of God the wealth into which a part of his life has been transmuted?
Many answers, varying according to the point of view occupied, suggest themselves. Of these answers, the following are submitted:
First. Because in this way the highest ends of a human life are fulfilled. To cooperate in building up the kingdom of God is to enjoy the exalted privilege of being a co-worker with God.
The development of this kingdom is the central fact in human history. Compared with it, the victorious careers of conquerors and the most far reaching achievements of statesmen shrink into insignificance. The constitution and laws of this kingdom of redemption were made by infinite wisdom at the behest of infinite love. That this constitution is to be established and that these laws are to be enforced is as certain as that natural law is now asserting its sway. This culmination may be a ”far off event,” but for centuries it has been evident that the one constant purpose which runs through the ages is a divine purpose and that it will be fulfilled only when the kingdom of God shall be co-extensive with the whole world. In proportion as any man, by giving as well as by laboring, shall transmute his life into an active force for extending the kingdom of redemption, he is making the most possible out of that life. The life that passes into money, when devoted to other things perishes; when it is built into the kingdom of righteousness, it will endure forever.
Second. Because it results in the development of Christian character. The very thought that one is a co-worker with God in the highest and noblest endeavor possible for a human being will lift a man up out of himself and straighten him up toward the dignity of the highest manhood’. It will call into exercise all the best powers of his soul and develop each into fullness of power.
God is not dependent on the churches for the means with which to extend his kingdom or feed his poor. He knows where numberless diamonds sparkle unseen by human eye-where thousands of tons of gold are hidden in the earth, undiscovered as yet by human avarice. He could, if this were his plan, send an angel to whisper in the ears of mission secretaries and college treasurers the hiding places of these treasures. No, it is not because of any dependence on us that God calls for our labor and gifts. He could have achieved his purpose without our aid. But he knew that it is more blessed to give than to receive, that reaction is as important as the action, and therefore he calls upon us to give and to labor. Otherwise there would be no opportunity for cultivating and developing the benevolent affections. It would seem that in ordaining that the evangelization of the world should advance no farther or faster •than the means therefor are furnished by His people God was providing for the intaking of the riches of grace through the outpouring of wealth and effort. Evangelization and Sanctification are to be reciprocal.
Beneficence is one of a sisterhood of graces When Paul urged the Christians in Corinth to ”abound in this grace also,” he put beneficence in the same family with faith and love and diligence. All these graces are products of the work of the Spirit in regeneration and sanctification. The product of the new birth is a new man-not a mutilated or partial man, but one complete in every part, though there may be imperfect development. To speak of a Christian without beneficence is as absurd as to speak of a Christian without faith. God has made no such oversight as to convert a man and yet leave him under the Control of covetousness. Of one who has not learned to give, the Scripture asks, ”How dwelleth the love of God in him?”
Third. Because the love of Christ constrains thereto.
Whether we take this inspired expression to mean Christ’s love for us or our love for him, we find in it a reason and a motive for giving. Paul referred to ”the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia” which was manifested in ”the riches of their liberality” as an example for the church at Corinth. He appealed to this church to give liberally ”to prove the sincerity of your love” for Christ, and then reminds them of Christ’s love for them as another motive; ”though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might become rich.”
Love kills selfishness and begets beneficence. As Christ’s love for us constrained him through sacrifice of himself to bring us into his kingdom, so our love for him constrains us, through sacrifice of ourselves, or of that into which our lives have passed, to lead others into his kingdom.
Fourth. Because giving is demanded by our relations to our fellow men.
Paul recognized the obligation when he said that he was a debtor both to the Greeks and to the barbarians-to all men, civilized and uncivilized. ”All the law,” said he, ”is fulfilled in one word, even in this, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” And Christ has answered the suggested question, ”who then is my neighbor?”
There is human brotherhood because there is divine fatherhood. We are to do good unto all men as we have opportunity. And there comes to us a widening conception of the ”opportunity” when we remember that through the transmutation of ourselves into money which is a universal representative of wealth and labor, we can do good to thousands now living and yet unborn, in all lands. We have no right to limit our efforts and gifts to those in our own community whom we can reach directly. Duty demands that indirectly, also, we shall give ourselves to those whom we have never seen and never can see.
Fifth. Because giving is commanded by Christ.
Numerous are the spiritual admonitions in regard to giving; numerous are the promises to the liberal. The commands may all be summed up in the brief order of him whom we call our Master and King,” Freely ye have received, freely give.”
If there were no other answer to the ”why” under consideration this one would be sufficient. The Lord, dealing with us as intelligent moral beings, reveals to us or enables us to discern for ourselves many reasons for the discharge of our duties. But if, in any case, we can discover no ground for an obligation save that it is the will of Christ, this is sufficient.
Especially should Baptists put strong emphasis upon this last reason. In all matters pertaining to church polity we insist upon strict obedience to Christ’s commands and upon compliance with apostolic injunction and example. We should insist upon an obedience no less prompt and exact to our Lord’s command to give freely.
Christ bids us go into all the world and preach his gospel. We obey through the money which we freely give. Our life passes into the money. The money buys that which passes into the life of far distant workers. Through this medium our life-blood passes into their arteries. He that giveth and he that goeth are one and they shall rejoice together.