I feel pretty uncomfortable writing this post. It's going to be hypocritical. But, so be it. For those of you who know me, you know I'm pretty cheap. No. I'm very cheap. But, I'm going to encourage you to be generous. Hopefully, you're better people than I am. ;-)
I was talking with Martin Zender the other day via email. I wrote to him to ask him why the talks on his site had suddenly ended and I asked him why they weren't available in a more convenient format for me (PodCast or at least MP3- I mean come on Martin, it's 2006!). He very politely and humbly replied to me that the financial needs of his ministry weren't being met. Many people were using his resources but not helping foot the bill. So, he was having to reevaluate how he was going to proceed. Wow. This was an eye-opener for me and forced me to really think about what my part in that was.
I think many (probably most) of us out here in cyberspace searching for spiritual food have been burned by the church in more ways than one. One of those ways is they always seem to be begging for (demanding) money. I know I'm tired of churches demanding my hard earned money to use for God knows what. Here in cyberspace, we can eat spiritual food to our fill for free. We have become accustomed to downloading papers, listening to talks, blogging on someone else's space, all at no cost to us. When I visit someone's site and listen to their talks or download their papers, I assume they're doing OK financially. Frankly, even if I do see one of those donation buttons on their site, I don't contribute nearly as often as I should. Yes, I've dropped a few bucks in the bucket here and there. I've been to Martin's site a few times over the last year (not regularly until recently) and I guess I had noticed the donation button there. But, I hadn't contributed. I will pay for a guy's books (and I've bought four of Martin's). But, I just assumed he was OK financially and didn't really need my donation to keep on going. Perhaps that was a bad assumption on my part.
I'd like to encourage you that if you are taking advantage of a cyber-ministry to contribute financially. If the guy has a donation button on his site, maybe he needs the donation to keep his ministry going. Even if he doesn't "need" it, doesn't it make sense to pay for what we take? As He sent the apostles on a mission Jesus said
"And in that house remain, eating and drinking the things they have, for worthy [is] the
workman of his hire; go not from house to house" (Luke 10:7).
One thing I find interesting is in today's environment, is it is the worker who remains in the same house. We flit from place to place taking a little here and a little there. As we do this, let's be mindful of paying the workman. We should pay for what we take and to enable him to continue to spread the message to others.
P.S.- In addition to financial contributions, it's nice to take the time to write to the guy whose stuff you are reading. Let him know you appreciate it (or hate it). It's hard to keep talking into cyberspace with no feedback. You can quickly feel like your efforts aren't worth it. Just a short note to someone can really recharge their batteries.
P.P.S.- No, this is not a sideways appeal for money for me. I do not accept donations for this blog. That way I can say with not a iota of guilt that it's worth every penny you pay for it ;-)