South Carolina Pastor John Gray recently urged congregants in need to take money from the church’s offering baskets, while slamming what he calls “pulpit pimps.”
“For too long people have stood in a pulpit and told you to give, give, give. Very rarely have I seen churches stop and said ‘leave the baskets out, let the people get what they need.’ We’ve got too many pulpit pimps who want to get fat off people but don’t want to meet the needs of the poor people. And Jesus said that’s who you supposed to be taking care of. We got widows, we got orphans, we’ve got single moms in here. We might not be able to do everything but we can do something. I wish we could do more but it’s the best we can do right now,” Gray said near the end of his sermon titled “Leftovers.”
“The role of the church, elder, is not only to receive from the people of God but to meet the needs of the people of God. I asked you to hold your offering until something in your spirit connected with the Word. Did you all hear me when I said that? But the role of the church is also to meet the needs of the people in the house,” he said.“Are there any single mothers in here? You had an orange light in your gas tank when you pulled up, where are you? Come to the altar. Hurry. Single mothers. Are there any single fathers and you had less than a quarter tank of gas, where are you? Come to the altar, come to the altar,” he said.
This is such a refreshing story to hear, considering many churches are known for doing the exact opposite. I myself have been part of churches in which tithing was encouraged especially in times of financial stress, because it demonstrated faith that God would provide for your needs. (I have always wondered how such Christians explained the existence of poverty. Those people probably didn’t have enough faith, I suppose.)
If only more churches — especially the ones with large congregations and larger budgets — could follow suit. This may have been a publicity stunt, but not all stunts are purely for show.
[Editor’s note: Beth and I have different takes on this story, so I’ll be sharing my thoughts in a separate post.]
(via The Root)