Religions and Money

Religion and money

The other morning I was driving down the main road in our small community in Thailand and it was blocked going one direction.  Thais had lined up sitting down on mats with money, food, water, and gifts for the monks of the local temple; the line of people as they waited for the monks was at least a half mile long.  I was in a bit of a hurry and was disturbed by the traffic congestion but later was reflecting on what was happening.  It was the Buddhist holiday of Tak Bat Devo Day.

Thai’s and Buddhist from other countries I’ve visited in Asia give so much to their local monks because they believe so strongly in karma.  The good they are doing for the monks even if it is hard for them to give will be returned to them so they give— and they give even if their own family is going hungry.  The Buddhist doesn’t believe if they don’t give that bad will happen, they just know that nothing good will happen unless they do good for others, it is a preventive giving.

As a Christian we are taught to believe similarly to this.  I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.  I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Genesis 12:2-3 NIV.  It isn’t karma but when we are a blessing we are taught we will receive a blessing— blessed to be a blessing.  I strive to live my life in this way and teach my family to do the same, even when it is hard to give, when it is hard to put our best out when guest arrive even it is our last that is what we will do.

As a missionary I ask again and again for friends and family to understand this and live a life of blessing, this way by blessing us they will be blessed.  However the years I have lived this lifestyle I don’t feel it is seen or understood in the Christian community that as we bless we will be blessed back.  This is what God has said to us, “I will bless those who bless you.  So if this is understood I shouldn’t need to tell my family we are at the end of our budget, we can’t buy food, we can’t buy the essential needs of our family.  We see the monks walking down the street and in a life vowed to poverty they have the newest cellphones, laptops, and other things they were suppose to be give up.  They have money to spend on buying alcohol and cigarettes and even money to go watch movies.

I don’t need the latest and don’t want vices of this world but I also don’t want to tell my family we can’t buy something as simple as a loaf of bread because our budget is too tight.  I will keep asking, I won’t give up on what God has called me to, and I believe and pray someday that “blessed to be a blessing” will be understood, believed, and followed again among the Christian community.  If you would like to start giving to my family you can visit our website and start giving monthly: Monthly Donation

photo credit: Steven W. Belcher via photopin cc

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