Money and ministry...

Hi all. So glad you decided to join me today as I write about something that is very sensitive to a lot of people. Does money and ministry go hand in hand, or does God supply all our needs without using His people?

I again have had my faith questioned when a recent friend of mine on Twitter asked me this question: "Can you read Revelation 22:17 and interpret it for me?" Being the gullible person I am, I say sure, and read the scripture.

17"The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life." (via BibleGateway.com)

The way I interpreted this passage is that Jesus is the "water of life" and anyone who wants to come to Him can.

What my friend said after that was: "God is not broke. If He wants something done for Him, He can fund it. What do you say?"

Well...here's what I say. First of all, I agree completely with my friend. We serve a God that has created the earth and everything in it. (Isaiah 42:5) Because He is the One who created everything, He can do whatever He wishes in whatever way He wishes. We know this because of the things we have learned in the Bible. I have written about such miracles in other posts. (Building Your Faith)God provided for the Israelites in the desert by dropping fresh bread, or manna, every morning. He also led them with a cloud over them by day, and a pillar of fire by night. They were fed, warm, cool, and sheltered as needed throughout the entire time in the desert. (Exodus 13:21)

But the question remains, is this how God provides for ministry today? Does God drop food or even money for that manner from the sky? I don't know about anyone reading this, but I haven't personally seen that. What I have seen is God moving through people in my life and supplying my needs through work, blessings, and offerings. What I have also witnessed, and contributed to, is ministries helping people who are less fortunate through God's people. Did you hear what I said? I said THROUGH God's people. If people didn't give offerings to ministries, missionaries and churches, we would never have big enough buildings to house people, or enough resources to give to people who are in need, or give to missionaries doing God's work.

I believe that God can do anything, yes, but I also believe that God uses people who want to be used because they are faithful and love Him. I will share a story with you right out of the gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. It's a story most of us already know. It's the story of the loaves and fishes. And I know what you are thinking, you know that God provides for the multitudes, but I believe, because God is soooo cool and revealed this to me this morning, that there is something in regard to money and ministry that we can apply from this story.

15"As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, "This is a remote place, and it's already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food."

16Jesus replied, "They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat."

17"We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish," they answered.

18"Bring them here to me," he said. 19And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. 20They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketful's of broken pieces that were left over. 21The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children." (via www.biblegateway.com)

So here we see that the disciples were wanting to turn the crowds away because it was getting late and they thought they needed to give them enough time to get back into town. (we are so blessed to have cars and transportation now) Anyway, what does Jesus say? He says no! He says You give them something to eat! Wow - they are thinking, um...hello Jesus, we don't have enough resources to feed approximately 5,000 men and their families? This is what they tell Jesus. They say they only have "5 loaves of bread and 2 fish." Wow! That is nothing, I think that my family could eat that in 1 sitting, and there's only 2 of us!

Here is the best part, this is the part that God revealed to me this morning, God said to me, "Cortnee, what did Jesus say in reply?" And I thought, well, He said to bring Him the food. That's when the light bulb went on and I was so grateful for my time with Him!! I realized that Jesus is still saying, "Bring them here to me." In other words, He still requires for us to bring Him what we have. Did Jesus need the fish and loaves? Certainly not! Could He have created fish and loaves from the dirt? Absolutely! But what I saw in this passage is that Jesus wanted the disciples to bring Him the resources so that, through them, He could reveal His power! Wow!! Jesus says, bring me your resources, not because I need them, but because I want you to see what I can do with them! I want you to see that I first require you to come to me, to meet me half way, to do your part, and I will multiply those resources!! DOUBLE WOW!!

I hope this is making sense! I hope what you are seeing is what God showed me. That no matter how things come about, God still asks people to bring their resources to them, so that He can send those same resources to others, who are in need. Does it matter that He uses ministers at a church? Does it matter that He uses popular ministers on TV and radio? Does it matter that He uses each and every person who is willing? I think none of that matters because the point of giving is first of all a heart issue, and secondly it's an issue of supporting the church as a whole. And who is the church? Every person who is doing the will of God and seeking after Jesus' heart!

I am even willing to take this a step further. Are you with me? I think that what my friend was inferring is that he is frustrated with how aggressive TV personalities and church pastors have become in asking for offerings. At first glance, I would agree. I have sat in conferences and in churches, even when they weren't the normal church service, and felt uncomfortable with how they were pushing offerings. So in this situation I can see his point. But what I am willing to speak out about is that I feel, on a whole, our society is so selfish and stingy and full of sinners, myself included, that we are so uncomfortable with people asking for money. Do you know what I mean? I think that is EXACTLY why people in ministry are having to push for more and more resources and more and more money. Our society has become so stingy and selfish that not only do we refuse to give our tithes, but when someone asks us to give beyond our tithes, we are INSULTED! Wow! How embarrassing is that? I can't believe how horrible we have become to be honest.

I believe that Jesus was a giver, and we should be givers as well. I believe that we need to be so excited to give that when someone asks us for more, we jump at the chance! In the Bible is says:

1 The LORD said to Moses, 2 "Tell the Israelites to bring me an offering. You are to receive the offering for me from each man whose heart prompts him to give. 3 These are the offerings you are to receive from them: gold, silver and bronze; 4 blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen; goat hair; 5 ram skins dyed red and hides of sea cows a]">[a] ; acacia wood; 6 olive oil for the light; spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense; 7 and onyx stones and other gems to be mounted on the ephod and breastpiece." (Exodus 25)

Did you notice God didn't tell Moses to bring the leftovers? He didn't tell Moses to ask for their garage sale items, or their coins in their purses. God told Moses that they will be bringing Gold, Silver, and Bronze, and more and more items that are rich in price. Wow! And this was to be an offering to the Lord.

I don't know about you friend, but I WANT to give my money, and more than that, I WANT to give my time, my money, my integrity, my family and everything I am to the LORD! I don't want Him to look at me on that final day and tell me how I could have helped His Kingdom more if I would have given more.

Friend, who cares if you are uncomfortable! Who cares if you have less than most people around you! Who cares? God cares, but He will never ask you to give more than He will give back!! I believe that we are uncomfortable in our seats because our generation of believers have gotten soft on asking for money! I believe that our pastors and leaders need to ask more, and we as Christians, need to act more!!

I hope this blesses you! I know it did just having my friend ask me! It got me uncomfortable enough in my Spirit for God to reveal an answer to me! Never stay where you are in your walk with Him, dear friend, always search, always ask, and God will reveal Himself and His ways to you!! (1 Samuel 3:21)

I love you and God bless you!

Cortnee :)

3 comments:

lynnmosher said...

Cortnee, This was a great post! I so agree with you. God allowed all that is in my life. How can I be stingy with it? Thank you so much for sharing this. May the Lord bless you...

Jay Peroni said...

I agree we live in the richest nation in the world (US) yet give so little:(
I live in the state (NH) that gives the absolute least. It breaks my heart. I wrote my first book The Faith-Based Millionaire to help people see that wealth has a purpose: to bless others! If we seek to get rich to be selfish God frowns on that type of behavior. God is mighty! He uses money as a tool to carry out His plans. Thanks for sharing such a great post!

Many Blessings,
Jay Peroni, CFP
www.jayperoni.com

kasandria said...

Thanks for such a positive blog! Enjoyed reading it. I clicked on some links for you as well.
Kas

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