I opened up this year’s blog with confessing to the failures I made in 2013 along with some of the successes.
This post is in line with that one — it’s just moving back in time a ways. Just like when I talked about a first-class screw up I made many years ago when believing stories I heard without first checking them out with the specific people being talked about.
So here goes . . .
When I became a Christian in my teens, I somehow got it into my head that Christians were never to sell anything or charge for anything. Especially for products and services, no matter what they were.
I don’t know where I got this idea from, but it doesn’t matter who influenced me. It was stupid at worst and naive at best.
If a Christian is in business, selling a service or a product, they have every right to charge for it. However, the price should equal the value. And they should provide excellent quality.
(By the way, my point about clergy salaries in Pagan Christianity and Remagining Church is a completely different subject. I don’t believe that a local minister of the gospel should charge God’s people for pastoral ministry. But that’s another discussion that I’ve tackled elsewhere in detail. So let’s not get off on that here.)
Even though I personally don’t profit personally from my books, I have no problem with Christian authors who do.
Writing a book is a monumentally difficult task; it doesn’t matter what the topic is, it’s very hard work. And it always costs money to produce the books in whatever form. They don’t just appear free of charge.
Even though I’ve given away thousands of my books for free over the years, someone ends up paying for the costs whenever I’ve done this (in my case, it was me most of the time).
The same with a music CD put out by a musician or any other piece of art.
Some bloggers I know charge for a subscription to their blogs. While I don’t do this and have no intentions on doing it (you can relax now), I have no problem with it.
Writing blog posts consistently is extremely difficult work.
Point: If someone uses their time and their energy to share their expertise … especially if it’s going to profit others … not only is okay to charge people for this service, but I think they should.
Americans who want a hand-out for everything at other people’s expenses aren’t being realistic nor reasonable. In fact, one could argue they are trafficking in stealing.
And whether you like it or not, most people put no value on free stuff. They put value on things they must pay for. And the higher the price usually means (to the average mind), the higher the value.
Anyways, because of my warped philosophy about money when I was in my teens, I would rarely attend a concert, a conference, or a seminar held by a Christian if there was a charge for it.
Yet I would spend thousands of dollars on my college education without wincing.
When I was in my early 20s, I realized the folly of this kind of thinking and it changed my whole outlook on spending money.
Subsequently, I saw paying for seminars, conferences, workshops as a way of supporting those who put these events no, not just a way to learn from them.
And I was happy to pay them for their expertise.
I know a Christian man who sells a podcast course. The price? $2,000. I have no problem with this because he’s sharing his hard-won expertise with others.
I have another Christian friend who holds conferences for entrepreneurs. He also charges $2,000. Steep? Perhaps. But if he’s helping people to make 10x that amount in their businesses, it’s well worth it, no?
Not only that, but that’s far less expensive than a college education which very often doesn’t land people jobs.
This outlook also spread to my conduct in paying for meals. I became a big tipper when I went to a restaurant and I still am. (Right or wrong, Christians have a reputation of being poor tippers.)
Why am I telling you this?
Because even to this good day, I keep meeting “Christians” who will gladly spend thousands of dollars on football tickets, golf paraphernalia, fishing stuff, trade school courses, college courses, etc. but will squall, bellyache, wine, complain, and even attack if a Christian if she or he is selling a product or a service that will help them in life.
These people demand a hand-out.
It happened just this week when I publicly recommended Rick Warren’s new book The Daniel Diet.
Someone — a professing Christian — tweeted a vindictive charge against Rick, saying that it’s wrong for Rick to be selling a book, that he’s out to make money, etc. etc. etc.
This person’s probably isn’t in touch with the fact that he just sinned by making these statements. 1) he judged another man’s heart and imputed motives to it, and 2) he violated Matthew 7:12.
The truth is, Rick gives the money for his book sales to charity. I applaud this as I do the same myself.
Anyways, I repented of thinking that Christians should never sell anything. And I’m embarrassed to say that I once held to it, even if I was a teen.
So I hope, in turn, that some who may have been mistaught to think this way will adjust their attitudes and correct their perspectives.
Perhaps the best person I can recommend who will help Christians to view money properly is my friend Ray Edwards.
Start reading his stuff and listening to his podcast and you’ll gain a more mature, sound, and biblical view of spending money.
One that I believe will end up blessing you and others.
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