This section is from the "How To Pay Church Debts And How To Keep Churches Out Of Debt" book, by Rev. Sylvanus Stall. Amazon: How To Pay Church Debts And How To Keep Churches Out Of Debt.
The ends to be attained by means of the beneficence of the church are the grandest in the accomplishment of which man is permitted to co-operate. In saving the world we become co-laborers with a God who declares himself as "a God of order." Harmony of action, therefore, demands that the human part of the work should be undertaken and carried forward orderly and systematically. Business men who aim to accomplish any considerable result prudently incorporate in their plans much of system. The church should not be less prudent, for the vast work to be accomplished calls for organized and systematized effort.
In our own country many of the Western States and Territories are almost destitute of religious influ-ences, to say nothing of the destitute districts in our large cities and open country. The isles of the sea and nations of the earth are to receive the Word of God at the hands of our beneficence, or remain in heathen darkness and spiritual death. The church of Christ is to accomplish a gigantic work, with most glorious results, and to this end there must of necessity be orderly arrangements and systematic workings.
Some are wont to ignore and others to decry system in bringing the church up to her privilege in this matter, and prefer to leave it to the impulse or inclination of those who give. They regard the results of successful church work as the child regards the motion of the hands across the face of the clock - having no idea of the hidden motive power and the relation of nicely adjusted spring, lever and wheel to moving hands. The unthinking and untaught see nothing to suggest order in the arrangement of the earth and heavens, but the student of God's handiwork stands with awe and reverence as investigation reveals the system of crystal, layer and strata, or as science draws aside the curtain of night to reveal group, cluster, nebula and ulterior systems, each moving with such nicety of adjustment that not the fraction of a second is lost in the onward course of the centuries.
The crippled financial condition of the religious boards and charitable societies is a natural result of the lack of system in securing the contributions of the individual members of the various denominations of Christian workers. Giving will not become systematic of itself. It must be made systematic; and this implies order and method. Too many congregations have absolutely no system at all. Others adopt such methods as gnaw at the very heart, and kill every principle of true benevolence. Any plan which parades names and amounts, and seeks to induce people to contribute because it will be blazed abroad, or prompts one to contribute an amount equal, or greater, than that given by another, that they may appear more generous in the eyes of the world, is false and ruinous in its effects. There is no objection to publicity, if publicity is not made the motive power in obtaining the contribution. When Christ said, "Let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth," he did not mean that our giving was to be kept a secret; "He meant that the right hand should not steal around to the left, and, shaking it furtively, whisper behind your back: 'How generous I am; how liberal I was just now.' But our Lord meant that the right hand should know what it is itself doing. He did not say, Let not thy right hand know what thy right hand doeth. He meant, Don't keep telling yourself how generous you are."