WISDOM FOR LIVING DEVOTIONAL
AUGUST 28, 2020
TOPIC: BEWARE OF DISHONEST AND GREEDY MINISTERS!
BY T. O. BANSO
“Is it time to receive money and to receive clothing, olive groves and vineyards, sheep and oxen, male and female servants?” (2 Kings 5: 26b New King James Version).
I wish this message were unnecessary. I’m not excited about it but my feeling is not important. The Word of the LORD must be delivered. It is unfortunate that we have to warn people to beware of dishonest and greedy ministers. Do they exist? Yes.
Even if a preacher says they don’t exist because he is jealous of his calling and wants to protect his constituency, there could be victims of the activities of these ministers who would step forward and testify that they do exist. Therefore, it serves no purpose to deny their existence.
It is not anything new that we have some ministers today who are walking disorderly and are not following the example of Christ. In the days of the apostles, they existed and the church was even warned about false teachers that would come.
In 2 Thessalonians 3:7, Paul said that the Thessalonians knew how they ought to follow him because he didn’t walk disorderly among them. He also spoke about being in danger of the false brothers or Christians as part of sufferings in the ministry (2 Corinthians 11:26). The point I am trying to emphasize here is that the early church pointed out the bad eggs among them or warned believers about their future activities.
Hear the apostle Paul in Philippians 3:17-19: “Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame — who set their mind on earthly things” (New King James Version).
Much earlier in his ministry, he warned the Ephesian elders: “For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears” (Acts 20:29-31 New King James Version).
In view of the foregoing, it is proper to warn believers and others against the activities of dishonest and greedy ministers who give the rest a bad name and work against the Kingdom of God. In the time of Jesus, the scribes and Pharisees devoured widows’ houses or robbed them of their houses (Mark 12:40; Luke 20:47).
Some ministers do a similar thing today, robbing people of their money and property through deceitful practices, including false teachings and fake prophecies. They’re only interested in the gold of the people, not their souls! Their belly is their god. Unfortunately, some of them are indirectly encouraged by those who patronize and celebrate them, neglecting genuine servants of God they should be supporting, including financial support.
They are deceived by eloquence and arrogance, taking it for the anointing! Their victims are attracted by fabricated or demonically inspired prophecies and abandon the sound teaching of the Word.
The Corinthians despised Paul because of some “Super apostles” who came to minister to them. This was despite the fact that he founded the Corinthian church and, in fact, ‘robbed’ other churches by accepting their contributions so that he could serve them at no cost (2 Corinthians 11:8).
Paul wrote to them, “But I don’t think I am inferior to these ‘super apostles.’ I may not be a trained speaker, but I know what I am talking about. I think you realize this by now, for we have proved it again and again” (2 Corinthians 11:5-6 New Living Translation).
In 2 Corinthians 12:11b, he stressed, “I am not at all inferior to these ‘super apostles,’ even though I am nothing at all” (New Living Translation). When people behave like the Corinthians, they easily fall prey to dishonest and greedy ministers.
Beware of dishonest and greedy ministers who go about to exploit people’s love to give to God and His causes. Gehazi belonged to this gang of ministers! Naaman did not come to the land of Israel empty-handed; he came with ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, and ten changes of clothing (2 Kings 5:5).
He presented a gift to prophet Elisha, whom God had used to heal him of his leprosy, but he rejected it (verse 16). This could be because it was not time to receive such a gift, as he told Gehazi later: “Is it time to receive money and to receive clothing, olive groves and vineyards, sheep and oxen, male and female servants?” (Verse 26b New King James Version).
After Elisha had rejected the gift, the next verse tells us that Naaman made a personal commitment to serve the LORD. This was more important to Elisha than any gift from him. Jesus told His disciples, “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8 New King James Version).
However, Gehazi missed the point. He would not spare Naaman! Gehazi said, “Look, my master has spared Naaman this Syrian, while not receiving from his hands what he brought; but as the LORD lives, I will run after him and take something from him” (verses 20 New King James Version). Dishonest and greedy ministers don’t spare the congregation or those who come their way. If they pray, people must pay!
But why must Gehazi bring the LORD into his greed by saying, “As the LORD lives…”? Gehazi would not allow Naaman to go without collecting something from him. Therefore, he went after him, thinking Elisha would not know. He lied to Naaman to collect the gift his master had rejected (verses 21-23).
When he returned from ‘robbing’ Naaman, he also lied to his master that he did not go anywhere. “Then he said to him, ‘Did not my heart go with you when the man turned back from his chariot to meet you? Is it time to receive money and to receive clothing, olive groves and vineyards, sheep and oxen, male and female servants? Therefore the leprosy of Naaman shall cling to you and your descendants forever.’ And he went out from his presence leprous, as white as snow” (verses 26-27 New King James Version).
In 1 Samuel 12:3-4, Samuel asked the Israelites, among other things, if he had cheated or oppressed anyone, and they replied in the negative. Paul said a similar thing: “We have cheated no one” (2 Corinthians 7:2 New King James Version).
It is not every minister who can boldly say what Samuel and Paul said because it is not every minister of God who heeds the biblical warning not to be greedy for money (1Timothy 3:3, 8; Titus 1:7).
Although the Bible encourages believers to give or sow a seed (2 Corinthians 9:6-7; Luke 6:38), if you desire a good harvest, it is not every soil that is right for you to sow your seed.
Do not let any minister manipulate you and rob you of your money or property. God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7b). Be guided by the Word of God and the Holy Spirit.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The LORD be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: I shall not be deceived by dishonest and greedy ministers. I shall not mistake eloquence and arrogance for the anointing. In the name of Jesus, I shall follow the Word of God and the Holy Spirit in giving support to a minister or ministry. Holy Spirit, guide me not to fall victim to dishonest and greedy ministers. Father, let help arise for Your true servants to do Your work.
(For over 300 in-depth and powerful messages by T.O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
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