“Let’s make a small room on the roof and put in it a bed and a table, a chair and a lamp for him. Then he can stay there whenever he comes to us.” 2 Kings 4:10 NIV
My maternal grandmother was the church mother at the Trinity Temple Church of God in Christ in Montclair, New Jersey in the 1960s. This designation as church mother is taken very seriously both by the person who holds it and her community. In this role, church mother has tremendous influence in the church. I strongly believe that the tradition of church mothers derives from the role of the queen mother in West Africa.
Just as the African queen mother has a close relationship with the African king, the church mother has a close working relationship with the pastor of a church. My grandmother’s pastor was Bishop Frederick Douglas Washington, one of the most renowned preachers among Black Pentecostal Christians. As a child, I hated Bishop Washington because he was the only person who got to use the fine China in our house!
There was a wooden cabinet in my grandmother’s dining room that had a glass door and through it you could see fine glasses, dishes, plates, forks and knives that could not be touched, as they were reserved for Bishop Washington’s use only. Bishop Washington obliged himself to use those well-protected items every Sunday after church services, when he would come to our house for an extravagant meal prepared by my grandmother who was his church mother.
Grandma had the kind of respect and admiration for Bishop Washington that the Shunammite woman had for Prophet Elisha. She was married and quite well-to-do; and whenever Elisha was in Shunem, he would go to her house for dinner, just like Bishop Washington. The woman concluded that Elisha was a holy man and suggested to her husband that they build an extra room in their house so they could provide Elisha with lodging when he needed it. They did exactly that, and Elisha accepted their offer and embraced their hospitality.
Her love and admiration for Prophet Elisha was sincere and generous, but her ability to actually provide support for Elisha and his cause was due to the fact that she and her husband owned their own home and could do with it whatever they chose. One very important position to have is the ability to support important causes in tangible ways with your own resources or monetary funds.
Many Christian causes and Christian institutions have been made possible by the generosity of people with means. When we own assets, we have the option to do more than just pray for people and projects that we love and support. We can make those resources available to protect the church and its leaders from begging for support; and perhaps even compromising their principles in order to make ends meet.
Ownership allows flexibility to support our church community. Both Elisha and Bishop Washington had people with means who made places for them in the homes that they owned because the people of the church had the means to do so.
Culled from Meditation for Financial Freedom Vol 4.