Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Waisted Faith

I received one of those chain emails about God saving us from ourselves today. The sentiment was nice, and correct to a certain extent. I think that a person's faith can see them through some very difficult times. It is correct as a believer to believe that God will provide you a path to pull yourself out of whatever pit you are in. He may even intercede in some cases.

Having faith in God to rescue you from financial stupidity is not the best idea. I don't think the Creator should be seen as a bankruptcy court for the irresponsible. Unfortunately you see this all the time. The TV shyster preachers claim that if you send them your money, your financial miracle is going to come any day now. They prey on the weak-minded folks that got themselves in a bad financial situation to begin with. Sending the TV preacher with the nice hair your last $200 instead of paying your electric bill will end up with you sitting in the dark. It most likely isn't what God would have you do either.

Yes there is a common component of giving to receive blessings in most religions. Call it karma, reaping what you sow, or whatever. Giving is good for the soul period. Helping others is a rewarding thing to do. It should not be your financial plan though. That is just silly. Trusting God to ward off the repo man, on the car you haven't made a payment on in six months, is most likely not going to work well.

I feel like the leaders of the Church, the individual everyday minister, need to focus on one's personal responsibility more. Yes you should trust God to show you the path, but don't rely on him to bail you out when you have been irresponsible. Like any good parent, He will let you learn things the hard way.

For to long people have used their Faith as a crutch to convince themselves that their irresponsibility is OK because the man with the plan upstairs is going to jump in and intercede at any moment. Most of the time they are disappointed with the results. The TV preacher tells them that all they need is faith, and when it fails to deliver the pile of cash they want, they lose what faith they had, and end up worse off than they were.

As I said, I think faith can help you through difficult times. Say the man of the house loses his job due to him being injured. A family's faith/hope, friends, and church can all help them overcome the difficulty. Sitting on the front lawn waiting for the refrigerator to mysteriously get filled up is not the answer.