URS: Money matters
钱很重要

(Dan Zhao 翻译)

圣经是用新标点和合本

Money issues in church can be a hassle, but guess what the keys to understanding it are? Surprise! The keys are principles straight from within the pages of the greatest book! These money-related principles, if taught early in life to children and youth, are a great foundation for life. And the early church, 2000 years ago, composed mostly of young adults (Jesus was only 30 years old), is still a great model for church management and money issues, even for today! It was clearly a great guide to us when we started our Cincinnati church in 1970.

钱的问题在教会里可能是一个麻烦,但是猜猜什么是理解它的关键?让你吓一跳!关键直接来自那最伟大的书里面的原则!那些与钱有关的原则,如果在小孩和少年的时候教给他们,是生命中的伟大基石。在2000年前的早期教会,大多数人是年轻人组成的(耶稣也才30岁),仍然是今日教会管理和金钱问题的楷模!至少是我们辛辛那提教会在1970年建立时的伟大指南。

Startlingly, when we read about money issues in the early church, right away we are reminded that the one who betrayed Jesus was actually the treasurer of Jesus’ own church, the first church in the world. One of the twelve original disciples personally selected by Jesus in the very beginning of His ministry. The treasurer, a key member of any team, was the one who did the worst evil, by betraying his Master! Corruption (stealing from the money bag) and betrayal (by instigating the arrest and “sale” of Jesus), right in the bosom of Jesus! Lesson 1: We are indeed all sinners, even those chosen by God, even those chosen to handle His money, and may the mercy of God cover us.

令人惊讶地,当我们读到早期教会金钱问题时,马上我们就会想到那个出卖耶稣的人实际上是耶稣自己的教会,世界上第一个教会里的财务员。耶稣在他的宣道早期亲自拣选的十二门徒之一。财务员,任何组织里的关键成员,竟是那个出卖他的主的罪大恶极之人!腐败(他偷了钱袋)和背叛(他导致了抓捕,和“卖”了耶稣),就在耶稣的胸前!第一课:我们真的全都是罪人,甚至那些被神所选的人,甚至那些被选来掌管他的钱的,愿神的怜悯降临在我们身上。

In another unusual stroke, Jesus also brought in a tax collector, Matthew, a Jewish man experienced in handling money, to be another member of His core team. Today, “Jewish finance professionals” are reputedly adept at managing finances, but Jewish tax collectors of the time were generally not respected. So, Matthew’s selection might have seemed initially more like a bad idea, maybe even to the other disciples, but Jesus was (and is) in the business of changing sinners. He obviously knew that tax collectors, even like the evil Zaccheus, could be rehabilitated and transformed into great disciples. By the Lord. Lesson 2: We are sinners saved by grace, changed by His grace so that we can do great things.

在另外一个非同寻常的举动,耶稣也把一个税吏,马太,一个有管理钱财经验的犹太人,带进他的核心团队。今天,“犹太金融专家”在金融管理上应该是很有才能,可是犹太人税吏在那时一般不受尊重。所以,选择马太开始可能看起来,也许甚至在其他门徒看来,更像是一个坏主意, 可是耶稣那时(和现在)在做改变罪人的生意。他显然知道税吏,甚至像恶魔税吏撒该,也能被治愈并改造成伟大的门徒。被上帝改造。第二课:我们是被恩典拯救的罪人,被祂的恩典改变去做伟大工作。

In the handling of money, therefore, we must be forewarned at many levels. Our money skills are often learned from the secular world, so we need to be careful what we might unconsciously bring into church. For example, if “love of money is the root of all evil” (I Timothy 6:10), and yet the world’s operative driving force is often the love of money, what we learn from the world about money must be very suspect. I suggest that we actually learn to flip the logic. In other words, if “love of money is the root of all evil”, we as a church could deliberately live as a church that does not love money, to wither the root of evil! And we should faithfully teach this in both church and family, especially to the next generation. Now that would be refreshing! Lesson 3: The root of evil withers when the church lives a life that doesn’t love money.

在管理钱财时,因此,我们必须在很多层面被预先警告。通常我们的管理金钱的技巧是从世俗的世界学来的,所以我们需要小心我们可能不经意把它带去教会 。举个例子,如果“贪财是万恶之根,”提摩太一书6:10,可是世界操作的动力常常是爱钱财,我们从世界所学的关于金钱的知识,一定值得怀疑。我建议我们实际学习颠倒这个逻辑,如果“贪财是万恶之根,”那让我们整个教会特意地不爱钱财地生活,让这个根源枯萎。还有我们应该虔诚地教导教会和家庭,特别是下一代。这会很清新。第三课。

Emphases and priorities. How any church views money is seen in how it spends its money. Commonly, we spend a lot more on ourselves, compared with spending for others. “Where our money is, that’s where our hearts are,” (Matthew 6:21), was written down by Matthew, the Jewish finance man, who had originally learned his money skills from the secular world. But he had watched and listened as Jesus constantly preached about caring for the poor and wretched, the prisoner and the neglected, the sick and the disabled. Obviously, Jesus was very concerned about them, and Matthew took that to heart and relayed that to us all. One good question to ask ourselves, therefore, would be, “Are we similarly concerned?” One quick look at the actual expenses incurred by our church will quickly reveal the value and concern we place on each work and ministry.

强调和优先。任何教会看待金钱的方式会在它怎样使用钱财上看出来。通常,我们比花在别人身上更多的钱在我们自己身上。“因为你的财宝在哪里,你的心也在那里,”马太福音6:21,是马太,犹太人财务,所写的,他很清楚地从世俗世界里学到他管理钱财的技能。但是他已经看到和听到耶稣一直宣讲照顾穷人和不幸的人,囚犯和被忽略的人,生病的人和残疾人。显然,耶稣非常关心他们,而且马太用心去听,然后教给我们所有人。有一个很好的问题问我们自己,我们有去做吗?很快地看一下我们教会的财务报表和花销就很快展示出各项工作和事工我们注重和关心的东西。

In income categories, Asian Americans as a group are in the top 1% of the world, clearly fitting the description of the rich in the bible. And, we clearly worry more about money than Jesus did. Matthew sharply recorded Jesus in 6:26 as saying, “Even birds of the air do not have to worry about themselves, for the heavenly Father looks after them,”, reminding us of our usually unbiblical attitudes towards money. This verse likely applies especially to the rich, who clearly have more accounts to worry about! And to their next generation, who have grown up in luxury without even realizing it. Surely, in a counter-cultural way, one of the great financial reasons for missions is that the church and each one of us, younger or older, quickly realize that we should stop worrying about our own finances, and should seriously pray about what we should really do, biblically, with our vast resources. For others.

在收入方面,亚裔美国人作为一个群体,是世界上顶尖的1%,清楚地符合圣经所指的富人。而且,我们也很明白地比耶稣更担心钱财。马太犀利地记载了耶稣所言,6:26,“甚至那天上的飞鸟也不需要担心它们自己,你们的天父尚且养活它们”, 提醒我们通常对待金钱的非圣经的态度。这个经句可能很实用,特别是对那些明显有很多户头需要担心的富人而言。对他们的下一代,成长在奢侈的环境里甚至不觉得, 更有意义。确实,以一个反文化的方式,宣道中一个非常好的财政建议,就是它很快地让教会和我们每一个人,不论年少或年长,意识到我们应该停止担心我们自己的经济状况,郑重地祷告我们所应该做的,符合圣经地,用我们的浩瀚的资源,为他人做事。

Concern for others opens up the window of true/realistic/practical/immediate/authentic/touching compassion for all. Few individuals, or even churches, have developed the good habit of regular giving to those who are disadvantaged. Nor have they carefully taught their children and youth. The inspiration derived from the act of regular giving, as opposed to “money hoarding”, especially in the lives of rich Asians, is usually far better than long pulpit sermons! Open our own windows, our children’s windows, and the church’s windows, and heaven promises to open its windows of blessings on us! (See Malachi 3:10.) Personally, my wife and I learned that lesson early in childhood, and undoubtedly it has been a wonderful lifelong blessing for us. It works the same great way for a church, and each new generation needs to learn that, especially from early life.

关心他人打开了一扇真实的/现实的/实际的/立刻的/真诚的/感动的同情的窗。很少有人,或者是教会,已经养成好习惯去惯常地给予那些弱势群体。他们也不仔细地教导他们的孩子和 少年。激励来自于惯常地给予,和“占有钱”截然相反,特别是富有的亚洲人,通常远远比台上长长的讲道要好得多!打开我们自己的,我们孩子的,和教会的窗,天堂应允(看玛拉基书3:10)打开窗子降福给我们!个人体会,我太太和我在年幼就学了这一课,毫无疑问地它成为了我们一生的祝福。它也同样对一个教会很有用,每一个新的世代的人都需要从小就学。

The church finance committee functions illustrate many church money issues, and the principles guiding the committee apply in general to all use of church money. Remember first, whenever we set up any church committee, it needs a spiritual focus, not just a functional one. The real focus and reason is Jesus, so those handling finances should learn to encourage and pray for each other, for wisdom, and for Jesus’ love to be pre-eminent in all local and mission money needs.

教会财务委员诠释着很多教会里金钱的问题,指导原则适用于所有教会钱财的使用。首先记住,任何时候我们设立任何教会委员会,需要有一个属灵的,而不是仅仅功能上的专注。真正的聚焦和原因是耶稣,所以那些掌管财务的人应该学习去相互鼓励和代祷,求钱财上的智慧,和为了耶稣的爱能在所有地方和宣道的金钱需要上彰显。

As with most church committees, the finance committee helps the church and its leaders, but not as a governing body. It should not set financial policy; that is an elders and/or deacons function. Having an elder or deacon on the committee provides experience and biblical wisdom, to help guide its spiritual functions. As an elder, I often led money-related devotionals or told relevant missionary stories to set a good frame for committee discussions. And I reminded the group to pray during complex discussions, to seek God’s will, and not just have ritualistic blessing prayers at the beginning and end.

多数教会的委员会帮助教会和它的带头人,而不是一个管理团体。它不应该设立钱财使用的原则,因为那是长老和执事的工作。一个长老在委员会里提供经验和圣经中的智慧,帮助属灵上的带领。作为长老,我经常带领一个跟钱有关系的灵修,或是讲一个相关的宣道的故事,这样为委员会讨论定好基调。还有我提醒大家在激烈的讨论时祷告,求上帝的旨意,而不是只在开头和结尾进行仪式性的祷告。

Note that finance team members should not be brought on board just because they are experienced accountants or secular finance people. The true character of servants is best found through their actual work in ministries. Luke 16:10 “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much.” Finance members definitely need to have been “tested.” There was a McDonald’s story going around in Asia that one of the first steps for promotion in the Company was to pass the test of cleaning its restaurant toilets well. This makes sense, when you think about how important cleanliness is in this industry. And in church finances.

请注意财务委员会成员不应该只因为他们有会计师或世俗财务的经验就吸收他们。真正的仆人的品性在他们教会的侍奉上有最好的体现。路加福音16:10 “人在最小的事上忠心,在大事上也忠心;在最小的事上不义,在大事上也不义。” 财务委员会成员一定应该是被“测试过”的。在亚洲流传着一个关于麦当劳的故事就是公司晋升的标准是最先通过清洁店里的马桶的测试,这很正常,当你想想清洁对这个行业有多重要。教会的财务也是如此。

Finance committee members should also personally support church financial needs, since “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” Matthew again, 6:21. Involve them in prayer meetings, so they will know the needs of less visible ministries, such as poverty or overseas missions areas, to bring prayer for these ministries into finance committee discussions, to give a spiritual, rather than purely technical perspective.

财务委员会成员应该自身帮助教会的财务需要,因为“你的财宝在哪里,你的心也在那里”马太福音 6:21。带他们参加祷告会,让他们知道不太显眼的宣道需要,比如关注穷人和国际的宣道地区,把这种祷告带进财务委员会的讨论中,为了一个属灵的,而不是单纯的技术层面。

It’s best to stay away from excessive fund raising in church, however well intentioned, because of the potential for coercion and blowback. More prayer is biblical, and leaders should simply show the financial needs, since tithing is still the best biblical time-tested “mechanism” for raising support. Which is clearly something that should be taught from early childhood, weekly, through the act of offerings at church. This extremely powerful and meaningful discipline has been a guiding principle all through our own lives, and is attested by many as truly valuable for all walks of life.

因为潜在的强制和反弹,教会最好不要过度进行募捐,不管初始意愿有多好 。更多的祷告更符合圣经的教导,带头人应该直接表明财政的需要,因为什一奉献仍是圣经中被时间检验过的筹集资金的“方式”,也明确地是每周通过在教会奉献时应该教导儿童的。这个极为有力和有意义的操守是我们一生的指导原则,也被无数的人验证为每一个人应用在生命旅程中的真正有价值的原则。

Pastors and money. It’s important for the church to strongly support the ministers in their financial needs. It is a travesty to impoverish the ministers while the congregation has abundant resources. The best practical principle is the principle of averages. Elders prayerfully meet to set the level of ministerial support at around an estimated average, considering the average incomes of ministers in the state, of high school teachers, and of state residents. This is based on biblical verses like Proverbs 30:8, expressing the reasonable expectation of believers “not to be rich or poor”. Important needs such as health care and retirement funds should be fully covered, just like any citizen. The next generation especially needs to learn how and why decisions are made in church, and finance decisions such as support for ministers and missionaries are good learning areas. They can apply these lessons when they become future deacons and leaders of many churches.

牧师和金钱。对教会而言,慷慨支持牧者很重要。当会众有着丰富资源的时候让牧师们活在贫穷中是可笑的。最好的实用原则是平均主义。长老们敬虔地一起根据估计的平均,州内的牧师们的,高中教师的,州内居民的平均薪酬来设定给牧师的薪水。根据经文箴言30:8,表达出信众的合理的期望 “不富不贫”。重要的需要譬如健康保险和退休金应该完全含括,就像任何公民所需要的。下一代特别需要学习教会里的决定是怎么和为什么做出来的,财务上的决定包括资助宣道士和事工是很值得学习的,这样他们可以在成长为多个教会的未来的执事和带头人时应用。

We learned by experience that it was best if ministers were not directly involved with church finances. The finance committee should help protect the minister from such worries, and especially any unfair accusations from disgruntled members, such as for apparent financial “conflict of interest”. For example, special donations can create awkward scenarios, for example, wills naming the church as recipient, but disputed by family members. Make sure ministers do not get “sucked into” these messes. An elder or finance committee person can better deal with such awkward issues.

我们通过经验学到最好牧者们不直接参与教会的财务。财务委员会应该帮助保护牧者免于这样的担忧,尤其是来自于抱怨的会众不公平的指责,可能好像表面财务上的“利益冲突”。例如,特殊的奉献能制造尴尬的剧情,譬如遗嘱指定教会为受益者,可是被家人诉讼。确保牧者不被“卷进”这些纷争中。财务委员会的一个长老就能更好地处理这样棘手的问题。

Photo 1A and 1B: One of the greatest opportunities to encourage many modern-day believers, “functional millionaires” by historical and worldwide standards, is to support, visit and pray for, missionaries in far-away places, among poverty-stricken children, just like village children of Jesus’ time.
照片一:第一张照片:一种最好的机会去激励众多的当代信众就是去支援,走访偏远地方的在贫穷的儿童中间的宣道士,就像耶稣在世时的村庄里的儿童和为他们祷告。

Mission needs. Encouraging church members in free-will offerings for, say, short-term missions, is a sensible way to raise missions support, instead of “sales” of any kind. The young mission team learns to be involved in love, for example, by giving out gifts of baked goods or tribal bags, bracelets and necklaces, while church members should simply be encouraged to give, and not feel coerced. Stay away from directly selling things or trying to “make money in the church” or anything like the historic temple money changers, who encountered the angry Jesus! Remember that the Reformation, now 500 years ago, was precipitated by the “worst money-making project” in church history, selling indulgences to help build St. Peter’s Church, possibly a noble goal, but certainly an unbiblical practice, amazingly directed from top church leadership.

宣道需要。鼓励教会会员自愿地奉献,例如,短宣,是一种理智的方式来筹集宣道资金,而不是任何形式的“义卖”。年轻的宣道团队学习着包含爱的形式,譬如以给烘培食品作为礼物,或者是民族小礼袋,手镯和项链,相反教会会众应该被直接鼓励去奉献,不会感到被逼迫。躲开直销或者费力“为教会创收”,或者任何像历史上圣殿中的换钱者,他们遭遇了愤怒的耶稣!记得新教改革,距现在500年前,是被教会历史上“最坏的赚钱”计划,兜售赎罪券来帮助建造圣彼得教堂,触发的,也许是一个高尚的目的,可是绝对不是符合圣经的作为,令人惊讶地,是计划来自当时教会的领袖。

Mission needs often pose great challenges to any church, since we always have to also cope with pressing local needs. The proper response is truly more prayer, both for God’s will and His touching of church members’ hearts. As a consequence, we learn a lot each time about our own attitudes of “hoarding” versus “giving”. Pray that we are not the “one-Talent man” who refused to use the Talent the Master gave him, on the erroneous assumption that his “harsh master” wanted him to hoard it, instead of using it… no! Our loving Master definitely wants us to use the Talents (money) He gave us for His kingdom!! He even severely punished the “one-Talent man” as “evil.”

宣道需要经常对教会带来很大的挑战,因为我们经常要面对更紧迫的本教会需要。正常的反应是真的更多的祷告,即为上帝的意愿和祂来感动教会会众的心。结果就是,我们每一次都学到很多,关于我们自己的态度是“占有”还是“给予”。请祷告我们不会是“那个拿了一千两银子的仆人”,那个拒绝用主人所给的银两,错误地假设他的“苛刻的主人”想要他把占银两,而不是使用它。。。不!爱我们的主人一定想要我们把他所赐给我们的银两(金钱)用在他的国度上!!他甚至严厉地惩罚了那个“又恶又懒”的“拿了一千两银子的仆人”。

Finally, in working with missionaries, beware of stressing them out with onerous bureaucratic western rules, based on the misconception that the IRS is demanding it. Our unique country has solid church/state separation principles, so unless we are stealing money, we have a lot of leeway in decisions regarding how we manage missionary finances, just like in our normal local operations. After all, the main function of churches is the Great Commission, exactly what missionaries are normally doing. The best approach is to love the missionaries, be generous, and help them to set up a local on-site board for accountability. Frontline workers with limited or no resources should not have to waste their time on excessive paperwork.

最后,在这些宣道士同工的时候,谨防让他们担忧西方繁琐官僚的规矩,对美国税务局(IRS)所要求的误解。我们独有的国家有政教分离的原则,所以除非我们偷钱,我们有很大的自由来决定我们如何管理宣教的财务,就像决定我们日常地方活动的正常花销一样。毕竟,教会的主要功能是大使命,正是宣道士正常所做。最好的方法是爱宣道士,慷慨解囊,帮助他们为诚信度建立一个当地的财务行政管理委员会。前方的同工在有限或没有条件的情况下应该不要浪费他们的时间在文件上。

Photo 2A: We are all sinners: we remind ourselves of a core team member, the first church treasurer, Judas, the handler of the money bag for the first Fellowship of believers, but who betrayed Jesus. Photo 2B: Calling of Matthew, the finance man, to join the team. Even though Matthew had been involved in a hated money-driven profession, he was changed to serve God with his technical skills to write his detailed and famous gospel. God can change us also.
照片2A:我们都是罪人:我们经常提醒自己,一个核心成员,第一个教会的财务员,犹大,第一个信徒间钱袋的管理者,但是背叛了耶稣。照片2B:呼召马太,财务员加入。虽然马太参与了一个被人仇恨的金钱驱使的工作,他被改变成了侍奉上帝并用他的技能写下来他细致和著名的福音书。上帝也能改变我们。源自谷歌安全搜索.

Now, wasn’t that fun? Money issues are challenging, but when money is wisely spent, there can be hugely good impact and joy for generations to come.

现在,这还有趣吗?金钱问题是有挑战性的,可是在金钱被明智地使用,它会起很大的作用,为未来世代带来喜乐。

Footnote: For a detailed discussion on money matters, please see Reggietales.org URS “Money, money, money”, chapters 1, 2 and 3.

编注:欲知金钱事宜的详情,请参阅Reggietales.org URS “Money, money, money”, chapters 1, 2 and 3.”