Written by Catherine Beaumont 

The best things in life are free,  

but you can give them to the birds and bees 

I need money (that’s what I want).  

These are the opening lyrics of an early Motown hit, subsequently covered by the Beatles in 1963 and the Flying Lizards in 1979. 

 Anyone trying to run a charitable organisation in these times of austerity and pandemic can probably relate to these lyrics, crass as they are, and a brief scan of recent charity news headlines shows that money, or lack thereof, is behind the downfall of some major players. 

 Those of us working in Christian charities try to put our faith in God, rather than in money, but this is not always easy, especially when the resources required to keep afloat run out and are not replaced. We might question whether what we are doing is really God’s will (surely if it is God’s will, God will provide the resources we need), or we may fear that raising funds in this climate can only be done at the expense of integrity.   

 Jesus did not skirt around the issue of money and our need for it, but he did warn us about the danger of money becoming a rival god Where then, does that leave us in our Christian social action projects? Should we all get ‘proper jobs’ and do our Christian work for free in our spare time? Should we take a vow of poverty and work for the minimum necessary to maintain basic food and shelter? Or should we seek to strengthen our faith and trust in the abundant nature of Gods blessing and provision?  

 I suspect the answer will be a mixture of the above, worked out on a case by case basis, and that the only way we will know the answer in our own situation is by waiting on God in prayer. Fortunately, prayer is one of those Best Things in Life that are free. 

Written by Catherine Beaumont