15 Feb Avoiding The Dollar Holler
February 15, 2021
You cannot serve God and wealth.
I came across this article from “The Wall Street Journal” about a most unusual type of revival service: “Carl and Janice Beaver went to church one night recently owing $10,500 on a slew of credit cards. When they walked out two hours later, they were debt-free. Now all they owe is a debt of gratitude to their brethren at Mount Carmel Baptist Church. About once a month the church holds a ‘debt liquidation revival,’ a foot-stomping, hand-clapping outpouring of music and financial generosity aimed at lifting members out of credit-card debt. How generous? The Beavers are the 56th family to have been ‘delivered’ from debt since the revivals began about a year ago. In a single night in May, church members not only raised the Beavers’ $10,500, but an additional $5,400 to liquidate the debt of another couple, and there was $500 left over for next time. To date, the congregation has wiped out a total of $318,000 of debt.”
The article went on to explain that couples that had been delivered from debt had to attend a seminar about how to stay out of debt and had to be willing to be accountable to the church for how they would handle their finances from that point on. The pastor would even cut up their credit cards. What motivated that pastor, Bishop C. Vernie Russell Jr., to begin those revivals? His church was contemplating a building program, but many in his church were not free to give because they were enslaved by debt. Bishop Russell said, “The credit card companies don’t like me too well.” But he insisted, “You can’t serve your Master and MasterCard at the same time.”
You might be thinking, “When is my church going to have one of those services?” I cannot tell you that. But this week in Nehemiah chapter 5, we are going to look at God’s principles for overcoming what I call the “dollar holler”–the financial bondage that comes not only from need, but also from greed. Remember, Nehemiah had this God-given dream to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem, and he faced all kinds of opposition. First of all, we saw how Nehemiah dealt with negative people. Last week, we looked at how Nehemiah dealt with negative feelings that come with any dream. Now we find the third source of opposition that Nehemiah faced, and that is negative circumstances–in this case, the lack of financial resources. Nothing will stop a project more quickly, or cause more backbiting and arguments, than financial pressure. Criticism did not stop Nehemiah and the project. Negative feelings did not make him come down from the wall. But when the people started feeling financially pressed, that brought the work to a grinding halt. You see, Nehemiah was like Bishop Russell. He realized that until he freed his people financially from the problems of greed and need, his people would never be free to serve God.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Avoiding The Dollar Holler” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2010.
Ellen Graham, “Southern Pastor Works To Deliver His Flock From Credit-Card Debt,” The Wall Street Journal, June 12, 2002, https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB1023835487412039000.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995, 2020 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org