If you haven’t heard by now, last week there was a bunch of controversy over Creflo Dollar’s donation appeal for a brand new jet, to replace his broken down old one.
The cost of the jet is a reported $65 million dollars, and in his appeal for it, he mentions the need to travel and spread the Gospel as a big reason for it. The reactions were varied; from anger, annoyance, dismay, consternation, laughter, to even the defense of it.
Enough has been said about this in many articles, news reports, blogs, etc. So my blog piece may feel like another blip in a long line of talking points, but I felt like giving some thoughts towards this.
First things first, it may surprise you that I’m saying this, but there’s actually nothing wrong with owning your own jet. You can be fiscally responsible, God-honoring, and minister to the needs of the people and purchase a jet. The issue comes when you start talking about whether this personal freedom can be a stumbling block to many who already question a Pastor’s honesty in church, as well as the means by which you go about this.
What was off-putting to many wasn’t actually the cost of the plane, but the purpose and the source of the funds to pay it. To ask for donations and say its to spread the Gospel brings more questions and laughter, rather than it being sincere and honorable. This is aside from the well-known fact that Dollar is a proponent of being rich as a promise and ordained from God to those who believe, which is false, assisting the negative picture this request painted.
Whether you think this request is great or not, I think that there needs to be an introspective shift in how we see riches and prosperity in this country. God is the ruler of the entire world not just America, and in America there exists an Americanized view of what it means to be prosperous.
When you begin to widen your perspective and make it global, your picture of who’s materially rich and prosperous begins to change as well. The majority of the world barely scrapes by, yet many of us earn much more, compared to the rest. This year alone, some of us have purchased multiple pairs of sneakers, watches, clothes, computers, and more. This is DEFINITELY not to say that we shouldn’t do these things, but that we should be mindful of the perspectives we hold. God will judge each of us for how we used what we had. There are millionaires who aren’t even Christian that can give a big majority of their funds away, yet many of us spend a majority of it on ourselves.
Now with all of that said, many of us can clearly see how this decision lacked wisdom from the outset. It also showed a tremendous lack of sensitivity to the very people you’re saying you want to proclaim the Gospel to. I can give a few examples of men of God in various areas who are known to be materially rich, yet there’s a sensitivity in how they portray themselves.
I personally go to the biggest church in NYC, Christian Cultural Center, and my Pastor Dr. AR Bernard is affluent in his own right. Regardless of people’s opinions of big churches, he has sought to live above reproach and avoid the stumbling block that flashing your riches tends to do. Another individual, who recently caught flack from people unnecessarily, is financial advisor Dave Ramsey. He recently had a big house built for him and his family, yet he is personally DEBT-FREE with it. At first you may say, “But wait, doesn’t a big house cause people to question?!”, but that’s not necessarily the case. Dave has shown even in a big purchase that he’s fiscally responsible, and even though he didn’t have to, he laid out the way their family gives financially to help Dave Ramsey Responds To Critics.
This situation with Creflo has caused alot of stir, and I hope on his part some thinking and even repenting, but this should also cause us all to think. Have we examined our own lives and whether or not we are good stewards of our funds? Do we hold unrighteous and unjust scales towards those who have more money than us without looking at how we use what amount we have? If you’re apart of a church ministry, does this make you think about ways of fundraising that would HELP people?(pay off someone’s bill, etc).
God never wastes any opportunity for us to grow and change our thinking. Let this unfortunate decision and fallout bring us all to thinking about our finances and what God thinks about them. Maybe when we think and examine those questions, we ourselves will end up…on a whole ‘nother plane.