Monday, November 13, 2006

Treasures in Heaven

In his great class on the Sermon on the Mount at Otter Creek, Lee Camp covered Matthew 6:19-24 yesterday. As a refresher, here's the text:

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

"The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

"No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.

As you might imagine, Lee had some hard things to say about this passage, especially in a church building in one of the richest counties in America: Williamson. However, even more interesting were five suggestions that he made for the church when it comes to money.

1. Let us learn to talk about money in the church. One of Lee's points was that secrecy in money and what we do with that money can have many of the same effects on our spiritual walk as secrecy about our sexual lust.

2. Let us find more ways to encourage each other to live more simply.

3. Let us remind each other that greed is idolatry, as Paul says.

4. It may be that our habit of disposing of marriages is due to our consumerist attitudes in everything else.

5. The church ought to question whether marketing (creating desire where no need is evident) is as unacceptable as a career in prostitution.

Like I said, hard, hard words, but words that I'm interested in hearing other people's responses too. Are they too harsh? Not strong enough? Any that make no sense at all? What about that last one? Can marketing and prostitution be linked?

I'll close this by saying that hearing that is in addition to reading The Irresistable Revolution by Shane Claiborne, which is an incredible read, and I'll have a lot more to say about this book in the future.


Kat Coble said...


I left a career in marketing because I felt very convicted about what we were doing.

I have never heard anyone else mention it before.

G. Brandon Hoyt said...

The concept of evangelism as marketing is something I've been spending a lot of time thinking about because of Post-restoration podcasts. I've thought a lot of the same things this particular post talks about for a while, and it seems like marketing gets in the way of letting the church be the church.

So how can the church be informative without being marketive? Or are we so tied up with our culture of marketing that everything the church does will be seen as propaganda?

Anonymous said...

I don't see this brother as being nearly as hard on those who put riches ahead of obedience, as Jesus was, he gave them no chance to enter the kingdom, Marketing of the church is fine as long as we use the original billboard.(The Bible)

G. Brandon Hoyt said...

Interesting Point about Jesus.
He's often a little more Black and White than people are comfortable with these days isn't he?
marketing as a word and concept carry baggage that I don't think the Bible deserves. Altough I bet I'm thinking of marketing and propaganda as being synonyms.
GB Hoyt

Malia said...

Someone at OC told me last week about how the church had come to acquire some of our new things in our building (yes, I'm being vague on purpose). I was struck by how "responsible" those purchases had been in light of what I assumed and I'm sure many others assumed to be true about how the church is spending money. But it would have been better, I think, to have gotten that info from someone like Doug or an MC or an elder addressing the congregation rather than in a "gathering room" conversation.

Kenneth & Victoria said...

I think in the analogy with prostitution I'd put marketing more in line with the process of beautification and attraction. Just as there's nothing wrong with a man or woman making himself/herself attractive for the signficant other, there's nothing wrong with making a product more attractive for a prospective client. A productive economy is going to pull more people out of poverty than our tithing on Sunday, so we should be loathe to discourage legitimate enterprise. After all, couldn't we condemn everyone from the person creating the raw materials to the person consuming the product--but how many people would that put out of job?

I'd no more condemn someone for being a marketer than for being a cosmetologist. All of us should do our jobs responsibly; as Dorothy Sayers says, "Good work done well."

Thomas+ said...

I don't think Phil is talking about marketing the church, but rather the career knonw as "Marketing." In the early church, certain careers were unacceptable to engage in. Prostition, acting, and military service all come to mind (just a statement of fact, not a value-judgment).

In today's world, is marketing so wicked, so repulsive to the Gospel thta it can not possibly be redeemed or redeeming? That is the question. I would say "no," but I think a Christian would have to think very hard about his or her clients.

My father-in-law is selling a water purification process which can turn foul, salt water into fresh water without electricity. He is marketing it in India. Is his marketing guy in sin? I doubt it. However, if one is marketing yet another chocolate cereal, is that sin? Maybe. Good question, at least.

Phil said...

I'm not talking about marketing the church, although I feel like that can really be a problem.

What I am talking about is marketing to a need that doesn't exist. It's the idea of creating a desire for something that really isn't necessary. For instance, this desire for a Playstation 3. That people MUST have it or somehow their lives are less than full. Or a desire for $200 torn jeans. I mean, seriously. That does strike me as immoral.

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