WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
JANUARY 21, 2023
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, as members of Christian ministries and the people they minister to are not exempted.
Nevertheless, the ministers of God must “Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not” (2 Timothy 4:2 New Living Translation). Each ministry must fulfil its divine mandate, especially the preaching of the Word of God and ministering to the physical needs of the people. Christians must not forget financial support to Christian ministries, as they 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 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 the ministry.
Many true ministers of God face the challenge of finances but have remained true to their calling. They could have made a greater 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 where 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 to be 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 expressing similar gestures is good. But if that’s all you do, it is insufficient. You’re violating the Scriptures. 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 Living Bible renders the verse thus: “Those who are taught the Word of God should help their teachers by paying them.” The Amplified Bible puts it this way: “The one who is taught the word [of God] is to share all good things with his teacher [contributing to his spiritual and material support].”
Earlier in 1 Corinthians 9:11-12a, Paul 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 or the labourer is worthy of his wages (Luke 10:7). Paul also referred to this in 1 Timothy 5:18.
The problem with the church, sometimes, is the failure to maintain a balance. The church must not neglect its financial responsibility to the ministers of God who minister to them. On the other hand, ministers should not minister or fail to minister because of money.
The Apostle Paul didn’t always receive financial support in the ministry. He 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, believers, our labor and hardship. We worked night and day [practicing our trade] in order not to be a [financial] burden to any of you while we proclaimed the gospel of God to you” (1 Thessalonians 2:9 The Amplified Bible).
He also said a similar thing to the Corinthians: “We work [for our living], working hard with our own hands. When we are reviled and verbally abused, we bless. When we are persecuted, we take it” (1 Corinthians 4:12 The Amplified Bible). 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! As seen in that scripture, they were the only ones who gave him financial help, in the early days of preaching the gospel, after he left Macedonia. Even in Thessalonica, they sent a gift more than once for his needs. At the time Paul wrote the letter to the Philippians, he said he needed nothing. Therefore, he wasn’t praising them so that they could send more 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” (Philippians 4:18-19 New King James Version).
Did you see the prayer he prayed for them? They didn’t pray this prayer for themselves, like many Christians today. Paul prayed it for them because they had met his necessities many times. In 2 Corinthians 11:9b, Paul also mentioned the support from the brothers who came from Macedonia Macedonian churches.
Writing to the Corinthians, who were influenced by false apostles more eloquent than he was, Paul said, “Or did I [perhaps] sin by humbling myself so that you might be exalted and honored, because I preached God’s gospel to you free of charge? I robbed other churches by accepting [more than their share of] financial support for my ministry to you. And when I was with you and ran short [financially], I did not burden any of you; for what I needed was fully supplied by the brothers (Silas and Timothy) who came from Macedonia (the church at Philippi). So I kept myself from being a burden to you in any way, and will continue to do so. As the truth of Christ is in me, my boast [of independence] will not be silenced in the regions of Achaia (southern Greece)” (2 Corinthians 11:7-10 The Amplified Bible).
Ministers of God must not be greedy for money (1 Timothy 3:3; Titus 1:7). Nevertheless, the church, collectively and individually, must also not fail in their financial responsibility. Ministers must faithfully preach the truth, but the church should not neglect their welfare. They should also give to support different kingdom projects, including helping the poor and needy. 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).
Christians should give according to their ability. The Bible says thus about the Christians in Antioch, regarding helping fellow Christians in Judea following the prophecy about a severe famine: “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 (verses 1-4).
Support Christian ministries and ministers financially for the advancement of the kingdom of God on earth. Do it willingly, generously, and cheerfully
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that 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 God raised Him on 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 a palm tree and grow like a 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 a lack of adequate finances.
(For over 900 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
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