WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
JUNE 25, 2020
TOPIC: SUPPORT CHRISTIAN MINISTRIES FINANCIALLY
BY T. O. BANSO
“Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only. For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities” (Philippians 4:15-16 New King James Version).
The world is going through difficult times. Organizations, including Christian ministries, are affected one way or the other. Members of Christian ministries and the people they minister to are not exempted from the impact of the ongoing pandemic.
Nevertheless, the ministers of God must “Preach the word of God. Be persistent, whether the time is favorable or not” (2 Timothy 4:2 New Living Translation). Each ministry must fulfil her divine mandate, especially the preaching of the Word of God and ministering to the physical needs of the people.
In the midst of this crisis, Christians must not forget their financial support to Christian ministries, as ministries need money just as each believer does. Without adequate financial support, the vision and mission of the ministries would be hindered.
Whereas true ministers of God must preach the truth without being motivated by money, they need money for their personal needs and to run the programmes of the ministries. There is a limit to what they can do, even if they share their time between working to raise money to meet their personal needs and the needs of the ministry, and doing the work of ministry.
Many true ministers of God face the challenge of finances, even before the pandemic. Yet, they’ve remained true to their calling. They could have made more impact in their ministries with adequate financial support.
While one is aware of the criticism that some ministers are more interested in money than winning souls into the kingdom of God, one would be insincere to deny that more finances could help the work of God to advance. That is not to think that we can use money to replace prayer or other spiritual activities. Prayer has its irreplaceable place and money has its own unique place.
We’re only religious, not spiritual, if we think that we should pray for a pastor, when we should give him money to meet his needs or the needs of the ministry. I’m talking about when we have the ability to give, no matter how little.
James 2:15-17 says, “If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,’ but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (New King James Version).
I remember, many years back, when I was leading a prayer meeting in a church I was the pastor. I would read out the prayer request of each member and those at the meeting would pray on it. We were not more than ten there. A student sent a request for money to register for her final external exams in the upper secondary school.
Everybody prayed fervently and I rounded off the prayer on that issue. Those we were praying together expected me to read the next prayer request, but I didn’t. I told them that we should answer the prayer we have just prayed! The money wasn’t much. I encouraged everyone to give whatever amount he could afford.
I told them the amount I would give and dropped it on the altar. It wasn’t because I wanted to call attention to myself. There was no need being hypocritical. They understood. Without coercing anybody, we raised the money that day. The sister was able to pay the fees for the exams.
Telling a pastor who ministers to you regularly “God bless you, sir” or similar gestures are good. But if that is the only thing you say every time, it’s insufficient. You’re violating the Scriptures. You should do better than that. Paul said in Galatians 6:6, “Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches” (New King James Version).
The New Living Translation renders that verse thus: “Those who are taught the word of God should help their teachers by paying them.”
Earlier in 1 Corinthians 9:11-12a, Paul had told the Corinthians, “If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things? If others are partakers of this right over you, are we not even more?” (New King James Version). But Paul gave up this right. Jesus said workers deserved their pay (Luke 10:7). Paul also referred to this in 1Timothy 5:18.
The problem with the church, sometimes, is the failure to maintain a balance. The church must not neglect her financial responsibility to the minister of God who ministers to them. On the other hand, the ministers should not minister or fail to minister because of money.
Apostle Paul suffered a lot in the ministry (2 Corinthians 6:3-10; 11:16-33). He said in 2 Corinthians 11:27-28, “I have lived with weariness and pain and sleepless nights. Often I have been hungry and thirsty and have gone without food. Often I have shivered with cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm. Then, besides all this, I have the daily burden of how the churches are getting along” (New Living Translation). That’s painful.
Paul suffered lack. He didn’t always receive financial support. The church today should not emulate the churches that failed to support him. We should behave better than they did. Paul had to work to support himself and his traveling team. He said, “Yes, you yourselves know that these hands have provided for my necessities, and for those who were with me” (Acts 20:34 New King James Version).
He told the Thessalonians, “For you remember, brethren, our labor and toil; for laboring night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, we preached to you the gospel of God” (1 Thessalonians 2:9 New King James Version).
He also said a similar thing to the Corinthians: “We have worked wearily with our own hands to earn our living” (1 Corinthians 4:12 New Living Translation). At Corinth, he worked as a tent-maker (Acts 18:3).
Hear what he told the Philippians: “Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only. For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account” (Philippians 4:15-17 New King James Version).
God bless the Philippians! They were the only ones who gave him financial help when he first brought them the Good News, and then travelled on from Macedonia. Even in Thessalonica, they sent aid more than once for his necessities. May the LORD stir the spirit of churches to support ministers as the Philippians did.
At the time Paul wrote this letter, he said he needed nothing. Therefore, he wasn’t praising them so that they could send money or aid to him. He said, “Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God. And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (verses 18-19 New King James Version).
Did you see the prayer he prayed for them? They didn’t pray it for themselves, like many Christians today. Paul prayed it for them because they had met his necessities many times. Have you done what the Philippians did? Paul also mentioned the support of the Macedonians in 2 Corinthians 11:9b.
Writing to the Corinthians, who were influenced by false apostles more eloquent than he was, Paul said, “Did I do wrong when I humbled myself and honored you by preaching God’s Good News to you without expecting anything in return? I ‘robbed’ other churches by accepting their contributions so I could serve you at no cost. And when I was with you and didn’t have enough to live on, I did not ask you to help me. For the brothers who came from Macedonia brought me another gift. I have never yet asked you for any support, and I never will” (2 Corinthians 11:7-10 New Living Translation).
Ministers of God must not be greedy for money (1Timothy 3:3; Titus 1:7). Nevertheless, the church must also not fail in their financial responsibility. Ministers must faithfully preach the truth, but the church should not neglect their welfare. Ministers of God should not coerce or manipulate the people to give, but the church should obey the Word of God to give willingly, generously and cheerfully.
2 Corinthians 9:6-8 says, “But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work” (New King James Version).
Ministers and Ministries need financial support at this time to help, financially and materially, people who are suffering from the current pandemic. Christians should give according to their ability. To help fellow Christians in Jerusalem as regards a severe famine that had been prophesied, the Bible says this of the Christians in Antioch, “Then the disciples, each according to his ability, determined to send relief to the brethren dwelling in Judea” (Acts 11:29 New King James Version).
Also, in 2 Corinthians 8, Paul mentioned that the Macedonian churches sent money to the impoverished Christians in Jerusalem despite the much trouble and hard times they were going through. They didn’t give their troubles and hardship as a reason not to give.
He said their wonderful joy and deep poverty overflowed in rich generosity. They gave more than what they could afford, but did this of their own free will, begging Paul persistently for the gracious privilege of sharing in the gift for the Christians in Jerusalem (2 Corinthians 8:1-4).
Support Christian ministries and ministers financially for the advancement of the kingdom of God on the earth. Do it faithfully.
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 support Christian ministries financially; I shall give faithfully according to my ability. Father, You give seed to the sower; I receive seeds to sow. I won’t allow the work of God on earth to suffer because of lack of adequate finances.
(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.
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