Mentioning Money in Church (part 1)

Written by: Dr. Paul Galbreath


As a pastor, I quickly learned that any talk of money from the pulpit is akin to the third rail of politics – of naming that which immediately creates a furor that consumes the minister’s time and energy for having dared to speak of a private and personal matter.

Typical responses include:

1) It’s none of your business.

2) I already turned in my pledge card for the stewardship drive, so please stop meddling in my life.

3) I don’t come to church to hear sermons about money, a pastor’s job is to speak about spiritual matters.

4) If you don’t stop talking about money, then we will find another pastor who cares about our souls and will preach the Bible.

There is a high degree of irony here, because Scripture has a lot to say about money and possessions.

For example, note how Jesus’ inaugural sermon in his hometown of Nazareth picks up the mantle from the prophet Isaiah as a central theme of his ministry:

‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.’ (Luke 4:18-19)

This good news to the poor is a message of deliverance from their daily struggle to survive in a world that continues to be marked by greed and consumption.  On this point, we have much to learn by taking up the cause and priorities laid out in Jesus’ first sermon even when it puts the pastor on the hot seat.

Read Luke 4:16-30.

Questions for Reflection

1) How are we as a community of faith offering good news to the poor?
2) What are we doing to proclaim release to the captives, the recovery of sight to the blind, and letting the oppressed go free?