“Honour thy father and thy mother, as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee” (Deut. 5:16).
“And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. 10 For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death: 11 But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free. 12 And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; 13 Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye” (Mark 7:9-13).
During the ministry of Jesus, the Lord exposed the corruption of the hearts of religious leaders who taught the Law of Moses, and then violated the Fifth Commandment. Being knowledgeable about the Law, the religious leaders found a clever way to help people dishonor their parents by not taking care of their needs in the sunset years of their lives. It was a simple and brilliant scheme. All a Jewish child had to do was to dedicate their financial resources to the Temple by declaring it to be a gift (corban). Then, a child could go and say to the parent, “I have no money to help you. It is a gift (corban) by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me;” that is, “I have devoted that to God which you ask of me, and it is no longer mine to give” (Mark 7:11).
The principle of corban lives today when religious leaders insist money be given to a general fund outside the local Church, or to some obscure co-operative program without any direct knowledge of where the money God has entrusted to the giver is going, or how it is being used, or perhaps misused. There is no accountability to those giving the resources to underwrite a larger ministry.
Surely, this is irresponsible giving.
It is also a clever way for a congregation to negate any obligation to directly help individuals in the midst of the Church. The masses are loved, the idea of a collective good is entrenched, while individual members of the body of Christ in the Church suffer neglect.
Surely the Lord cannot be pleased with the Corban Scam.
If a congregation is rich enough to afford giving to a co-operative program, for whatever ideological reason it may embrace, that is one thing. But when a congregation is not rich, and cannot meet its normal bills, when money that could be used to help someone in the congregation is siphoned off to keep a commitment to the unnamed, unknown, and unidentified collective masses, that is something else, and is a practice that should be reconsidered, immediately.
“But whoso has this world’s good, and sees his brother has a need, and shuts up his emotions of compassion from him, how dwells the love of God in him?” (1 John 3:17).