She is unkind, miserly with others, and always worried about "my rights." She won't give up anything for anyone else, even in the name of saving souls. (Can we mention pews and parking places here?) Keith was once told that the articles he placed in the newspaper were a waste of the church's money (it was a pittance), even though we had the results of those articles sitting on the pews! Unfortunately, the bulk of that congregation, except for those new converts, was made up of Thelmas.
Thelma even views the church as her property. When new people come in, she sits in judgment as to whether they deserve to be greeted and shown the gospel. If they do not match her status in the community, if they have any problems at all in their lives, they are rejected. Yes, Keith actually had a men's business meeting tell him he was bringing the wrong class of people to church (failing to mention that he was the only one bringing any guests at all). He, like Jesus, was preaching to the publicans and sinners, while they wanted a few more Pharisees among them. They believed the church was theirs instead of the Lord's, and they should decide who could come in. "It's mine!" they all thought.
That's Mine Thelma does not believe Eph 4:28: Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. No sir. Her money is for her and hers alone. She is quick to quote …if anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat, 3 Thes 3:10, and to spout off about stewardship. She would much rather err on the side of selfishness than generosity.
And Thelma's selfishness isn't only about tangible things. She will not yield her rights or her opinions. Let me give you a good example this time instead of a bad one. I once knew a man who would sit near the back so he could quietly get up and leave when the Lord's Supper was served on Sunday evenings for those who could not make it that morning. He did not believe that was right, but he did not cause an uproar in the church over it that might lead to division. He simply did not participate. There may have been other things he did not do as well, but in that instance at least, he was a good example.
My own father was also a great example. When he heard of a need, he quietly filled it as best he could. He bought pews and hymnals for small churches. He helped support gospel preachers. He gave away his own belongings if he knew someone else needed them worse. He also opened his wallet on many occasions. Once he was told that a man he had helped had used that help in a bad way. "That's his problem," he said. "I did what my God expected me to do."
I have been blessed to have known some of the kindest, most generous brothers and sisters in this world. Generous Joyce would be a better name for all of them, and that is how we should be raising our children, and the example we should show them too.
The desire of the righteous ends only in good; the expectation of the wicked in wrath. One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered. Prov 11:23-25
But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. 1 Cor 8:9
Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor. 1 Cor 10:24