The New Testament clearly outlines how Christians behaved in response to giving and receiving among themselves. The only people who have trouble with defining how a Christian should operate in the 21st century are those that have twisted what is said to appease their lack of faith or have mistakenly succumb to the spirit of the age in which we live.
There are two prevalent concepts or teachings on giving in the New Testament which must color everything we do in reference to finances. They are strainers or firewalls which if applied automatically keep us securely aligned with the Lord’s will and under the umbrella of the fullness of His blessings.
Most Christians today err because their lack of faith and trust in God has them looking for answers to these questions at the wrong starting line. How do we pay for what we are going to do? Or how are we going to support ourselves while serving God’s people?
In the New Testament Christians began with; “What has God said?” or “What is His will?” The cost of doing the work was always a side note because God not people was their provider and their source. The old adage “Where God guides God provides” is a fact that all Christians in ministry can depend on. Our problem is we want God to provide at the level we are accustomed to not at the level of a servant of God.
Let’s look at concept number one; EQUALITY/SHARING
Acts 2:44-45 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.
Acts 4:32-33 Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common.
Gal 6:6 Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches.
1 Tim 6:18 Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share,
The next concept or ‘firewall” is Remember THE POOR
It is much like the first but includes the participation and burden to help the poor of the Body of Christ even if they were not part of their immediate region or city. This simple request helped nail down the fact that there was only One Church and Body of the lord Jesus Christ no matter where they were located.
Rom 15:26-27 it pleased those from Macedonia and Achaia to make a certaincontribution for the poor among the saints who are in Jerusalem.
Gal 2:10 They desired only that we should remember the poor, the very thing which I also was eager to do.
James 2:1-7 My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality. 2 For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, 3 and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, “You sit here in a good place,” and say to the poor man, “You stand there,” or, “Sit here at my footstool,” 4 have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? 5 Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor man. Do not the rich oppress you and drag you into the courts? 7 Do they not blaspheme that noble name by which you are called?
Today in our congregations we have VIP seats and entrances which to the New Testament church would have been a totally alien concept. Special seating in concerts and events for those who could pay more was considered blasphemy of the Name of the Lord.
So the very idea of charging for the work of the Lord is not a concept of the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. The sad thing is those who consider themselves cutting edge and leaders in His Kingdom have been the first to sin and teach others to sin with their ungodly and worldly examples in this area. Today the more prestigious or the better known someone is the more it costs to access the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ through them. Leaders and groups brag about how much it costs up front & guaranteed to book them. The bible calls this a hireling and many ministries and congregations gladly pay it because it’s “prestigious” to say they came to “our Church”.
I hear you arguing with me and the Holy Spirit! But this is the way it’s always been done. This is the way so and so does it and look how blessed he is and how many people are in “His Church”? Truly the words of the Lord are going to be heard once again when we stand before him on Judgment Day without excuse.
Matt 19:30 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.
You want to be a forerunner? You want to be cutting edge? Dare to trust God to be your Source! Dare Him to bless you after you have blessed His people! Dare to give His gift in you away for free! Become an advocate of REAL JUSTICE! Help stop the prostitution of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ!
May His ministry through you bring Him great joy and praise now and forever more and may you need the assistance of the angels of God to throw that huge crown at His feet in that Day!
Jose L. Bosque