a contrast

One point I especially appeciated in that Christianity Today article I quoted yesterday was the contrast in economic practice illustrated by George Müller and Dwight L. Moody:

Müller was less interested in caring for orphans than in demonstrating God's power: "The chief end for which the institution was established is that the church would see the hand of God stretched out on our behalf in answer to prayer." Müller never borrowed money, nor would he ever mention the orphanage's current needs to anyone. He was, nevertheless, a tireless and relentless publicist. For 50 years, he wrote copiously and traveled widely, telling dramatic, nail-biting stories about the orphanage's desperate needs, its fervent prayers, and God's never-failing last-minute rescue from disaster.

Moody, by contrast, was bold as the winter wind in asking for money. He used personal appeals to people's religious sentiments, buttonholing industrial tycoons and sending out thousands of what he cheerfully called "begging letters" every year.

...Moody's method of fundraising prevailed over Müller's. After 1945, evangelicalism gradually abandoned its old faith principle of praying rather than asking. This freed evangelical organizers to dream up new ways of raising funds that produced more money than simply praying.

It is important to remember that evangelicals first adopted faith principles as a way to demonstrate God's power, not because faith principles were an especially efficient way to raise money. In the years since World War II, evangelical entrepreneurs have showed less interest in demonstrating God's providential care and more in growing their ministries.

I think this is an important difference, and the trend is moving in precisely the wrong direction. As if God's work depended on how much money we can raise. As Jesus demonstrated so clearly, the point of Christian work is not resources but the message. The good news that we can trust God completely. That trusting God is our only hope. This is what we need to communicate in all we say and do.