Friday, April 6, 2018

Backlog: Evangelical pastor gives $100 bills to families, challenges them to use the money for good works

Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.
Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:
That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
Matthew 6:1-4

As far as I can tell from a quick glance at the website of Community Bible Church in Stittsville, Ontario, it seems to be a typical evangelical church, sound enough in its statement of faith, but with worldly accessories such as the usual "worship" band. I don't know how the project described in the article below turned out, but the church and its pastor would do better to heed the words of the Lord Jesus Christ and do their good works in secret. As reported by Zev Singer of the Ottawa Citizen, June 1, 2011:

Ottawa preacher Steve Stewart got up to address his congregation on Sunday with a bible and a stack of hundred dollar bills. By the time the service was over at the Community Bible Church in Stittsville, he'd given out $10,000 to the gathered faithful. Nobody fell asleep during that sermon.

Take the money, he told the flock, and go make the world a better place. Then come back in 90 days and report on what you did.

"I'm not kidding you," he told the crowd. " I want you to make a positive impact in your world."

"Everybody's jaw dropped open," he said in an interview. "They couldn't believe it."

As he handed out the crisp brown bills, one for each family, he laid out three rules.

"I would like you to pray," he told them first, "and ask God how He'd like you to spend His money."

Second, they had to finalize and carry out the "investment" in goodness. Then, third, they must return at the end of August and let the congregation know what they did.

The money arrived at Stewart's home in a folded manila envelope, after a donor arranged to have it delivered to him. Stewart said the donor lives in Ottawa but wishes to remain anonymous.

A few years ago, Stewart tried a small-scale version of the money giveaway with a stack of $5 bills.

But this time, the larger sums mean greater potential.

"The idea is to try to grow your money, too," Stewart said, "and maybe try to get other people to join in (with their own money), and this becomes the seed money to get something bigger going so we can have some really big things happen."

While he doesn't know yet what people will choose to do, he has heard a few tentative ideas so far. One family is thinking about using some land they own to grow a garden. The money would contribute toward the planting of an ambitious crop, worth much more than the money invested, which would be donated to people in need.

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