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I gave money to a church for a building project that never happened. I asked for my money back and they told me it was gone. What can I do?

I am sad to read your question because it appears that your money was not used for the purpose for which it was given. Not all churches are as careful about the raising and using of money as the apostle Paul:

18 And we are sending along with him the brother who is praised by all the churches for his work in spreading the gospel. 19 In addition, this brother has also been chosen by the churches as our traveling companion as we administer this generous gift to the glory of the Lord himself and to show our readiness to help. 20 We did this as a precaution so that no one should blame us in regard to this generous gift we are administering. 21 For we are concerned about what is right not only before the Lord but also before men (2 Corinthians 8:18-21).

I don’t think you were wrong to ask that the money you gave be returned to you. In Matthew 18:15-20 God tells us how we should deal with those who have wronged us. I would suggest that you consider taking one or two of the leaders from your new church with you, and talk to the one who was responsible for the use of the funds you gave. In 1 Corinthians chapter 6:1-7 Paul tells us not to sue a fellow believer. It would not seem that you should seek a legal solution to your situation unless a crime was committed (then the proper authorities would need to be notified). Remember that all wrongs are not made right immediately, or even in this life. The Lord will do what is right, and will reward those who have done right.

I would hope that you gave the money as to the Lord, and not just to men. If so, then be assured that God will reward you for giving. Consider these verses in Proverbs:

17 The one who is gracious to the poor lends to the Lord, and the Lord will repay him for his good deed (Proverbs 19:17).

27 The one who gives to the poor will not lack, but whoever shuts his eyes to them will receive many curses (Proverbs 28:27).

There have been times when I have given money to help people, and they may not have used it as I thought they would. Knowing that I gave that money to the Lord, I am assured that He will reward me for giving to Him. Remember that God looks upon the heart (1 Samuel 16:7) and rewards with men according to their motives, as well as their deeds:

5 So then, do not judge anything before the time. Wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the motives of hearts. Then each will receive recognition from God (1 Corinthians 4:5).

Related Topics: Church Discipline, Issues in Church Leadership/Ministry, Finance