Using Others at Christ’s Expense

Have you ever known a devout Christian lady who cuts hair for a living? Trimming hair is her profession, and she does her work with excellence. It is how she feeds her family, provides a place to live, and pays her bills.  Despite knowing this, fellow Christians expect a “discount” for doing business with her just because they attend the same church. Some reference this as a “believer’s discount”.

There is nothing wrong with being a good steward of the money God has given you by looking for coupons, discounts, clearance items, and deals. But such should not be at the expense of others simply because you share the same faith. Unsolicited, If someone wishes to bless you out of love, then to not accept their blessing is a disservice to them. However, to anticipate Christian owned businesses to offer all their “brothers and sisters” in Christ a discount is not love at all. Rather, it suggests selfishness driven by a poverty mind set. Which in turn implies that maybe God has not been good enough to you, while making them feel guilty. Further, it robs them of the rightful wadges they desire. After all, if you could not find Christian owned business to provide the merchandise or services you need, wouldn’t you end up paying someone else the price they charged?
“Let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works” (Heb 10:24).
Thought Provoking Idea
Here is an idea to provoke love: pay your Christian brothers and sisters more than they ordinarily charge! That idea has love written all over it. In so doing, you have the opportunity to bless them by adding to their abundance -which in turn gives them the ability to bless others also.
“Rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, knowing that whatever good anyone does,
this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a bondservant or is free.” (Eph 6:7-8).
Christian Preference
“Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another” (Rom 12:10).
Personally, I preference doing business with fellow Christians , but that does not mean that I am obligated. For example, I may know a Christian mechanic who will get the job done. However, I also know that I will receive better quality work and services elsewhere. I am going to use the money God has given me wisely and conduct business accordingly. After all, paying someone else to correct the poor work that was done by my fellow Christian is not reasonable or advantageous. Businesses and services offered by Christians should be the best in town. It should have a mark of excellence.
Verses to Ponder
“Whatever you do, do it wholeheartedly as though you were working for your real master and not merely for humans.” (Col 3:23).
“Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men.” (Pro 22:29).
“This man, Daniel, distinguished himself among the other officials and satraps because there was an extraordinary spirit in him.
The king thought about putting him in charge of the whole kingdom.” (Dan 6:3).

2 thoughts on “Using Others at Christ’s Expense”

  1. One thought on stewardship within the community of believers is the exchange of services.  Maybe the women cutting hair needs her lawn mowed or an evening babysitter.  Bartering for services is also very rewarding and living in our present environment it is an excellent way to make ends meet.

  2. I was glad you've written this piece, Exec Elder Mooney: it is something that does not often get addressed.  I have been guilty of this kind of expectation, too, and it is selfishness driven.  It's not that church and Christians shouldn't be "givers", but when people play upon that for self-gain, the motivation is just wrong – frankly, sinful!  "Giving" indicates that it is the Giver who determines what to give, how much, and motivated to do so: not intimidated or coerced.  "Each one should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not out of regret or compulsion. For God loves a cheerful giver." [2 Cor 9:7]

    Truth be told, even some church boards/trustees do this to pastors!  How?  By thinking, "You're a pastor, so you shouldn't want be a meager salary from our church."  So often pastors leave below the average incomes of those they minister to – and why some have to either have a working spouse, or take on another "tent-making" job.  Who has ever sat on a budget committee for a church in which the members (including the church members) rallied everyone to give what they could so as to adequately cover the living needs of the minister and family (and others giving themselves to serving full time in the church body)?  Instead, it's often thought, "Well, he's a pastor: he shouldn't be ministering for profit!  He should expect to live poorly, even as Jesus did!"  It would hard to attribute such a mindset to the Holy Spirit and our Savior, who constantly taught how the Father makes sure His devoted followers are taken care of adequately, like the birds of the air and the Lilies of the fields.  The early Church that responded to Peter's first sermon on Pentecost, made sure, according to the testimony of Acts chapter 2, no one was in need, everyone sharing out of their provision.  Shouldn't that still be the mark of distinctive Christ-like love in any fellowship of believers?  "Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.  For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.” [1 Tim 5:17-18 ESV]

    I think our American culture infiltrates our Christianity, and so we think of "Christian" as meaning a freebie!  "Hey!  You're a Christian, right!?  Then you should serve me, provide for me, for free!"  As you well said, Exec Elder Mooney, the selfish, fleshy intent shows through!


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