One More Time: Who will Support the Missionary?

In my devotions yesterday morning there were several more passages about missionary giving. They were so good, I could not resist doing one more devotional on the subject.

In chapter 9 of 1 Corinthians, Paul explains his single hearted devotion for making Christ known. In this particular case, he did not take money deserved him, so that the gospel message would not be hindered. In the following verses Paul explains his right to receive wages and why he did not accept them in this situation.

1 Corinthians 9:1 Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord? 2 If to others I am not an apostle, at least I am to you; for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.

The Apostle Paul is insisting that the Christians at Corinth should listen to him.

1 Corinthians 9:3 My defense to those who examine me is this: 4 Do we not have a right to eat and drink? 5 Do we not have a right to take along a believing wife, even as the rest of the apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas?

There were some in the Corinthian church who were doubting Paul’s right to be paid for his work as an apostle.

Common Sense Proves Missionaries Should be Paid

1 Corinthians 9:6 Or do only Barnabas and I not have a right to refrain from working? 7 Who at any time serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat the fruit of it? Or who tends a flock and does not use the milk of the flock?

The Bible Commands that Missionaries be Paid

1 Corinthians 9:8 I am not speaking these things according to human judgment, am I? Or does not the Law also say these things? 9 For it is written in the Law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing.” God is not concerned about oxen, is He? 10 Or is He speaking altogether for our sake? Yes, for our sake it was written, because the plowman ought to plow in hope, and the thresher to thresh in hope of sharing the crops.

Logic Concludes Missionaries Should be Paid

1 Corinthians 9:11 If we sowed spiritual things in you, is it too much if we reap material things from you? 12 If others share the right over you, do we not more?

Somethings are more Important than Money

1 Corinthians 9:12b Nevertheless, we did not use this right, but we endure all things so that we will cause no hindrance to the gospel of Christ.

Paul is like me, he had some reasons why he did not want use the money from the church.

God’s servants are to live by their ministry

1 Corinthians 9:13 Do you not know that those who perform sacred services eat the food of the temple, and those who attend regularly to the altar have their share from the altar? 14 So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel.

When to Refuse Wages for Ministry

1 Corinthians 9:15 But I have used none of these things. And I am not writing these things so that it will be done so in my case; for it would be better for me to die than have any man make my boast an empty one.

We must Preach the Gospel

1 Corinthians 9:16 For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel. 17 For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have a stewardship entrusted to me. 18 What then is my reward? That, when I preach the gospel, I may offer the gospel without charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.

Our Ultimate Motivation

1 Corinthians 9:19 For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more.

 New American Standard Bible: 1995 update.

If Paul did not accept money from the Corinthians, How did he live?

1 Corinthians 11:8 I robbed other churches by taking wages from them to serve you; 9 and when I was present with you and was in need, I was not a burden to anyone; for when the brethren came from Macedonia they fully supplied my need, and in everything I kept myself from being a burden to you, and will continue to do so. 10 As the truth of Christ is in me, this boasting of mine will not be stopped in the regions of Achaia.

 New American Standard Bible: 1995 update

The Shofar: Time to Worship the Lord

A Call to Worship

Matthew 28:1 Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave. 2 And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it. 3 And his appearance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. 4 The guards shook for fear of him and became like dead men. 5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. 6 He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. 7 Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you.”

 New American Standard Bible: 1995 update.

Since Jesus was resurrected on the first day of the week, we attend church on the first day of the week.

Since Jesus died for us while we were still His enemy, it seems reasonable to worship our Lord by attending church on Sunday. Even if we are unhappy with church life, we ought to follow the example of Jesus, loving the church and giving ourselves for the church. Let us attend church to bless others, rather than expecting others to bless us. By doing so, we please our Savior.

Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead!”

#7 Why Missionaries Speak in Churches: Review/Application

1) Become Fellow Workers for The Truth

3John 8 Therefore we ought to support such men, so that we may be fellow workers with the truth.

2) Pay Wages, Double if Deserved

1Timothy 5:18 For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing,” and “The laborer is worthy of his wages.”

3) The Giver: Give alone if Necessary The One Given To: Seek the welfare of the one giving.

Philippians 4:15 You yourselves also know, Philippians, that at the first preaching of the gospel, after I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you alone;

Philippians 4:17 Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account.

4) Give the First Part of Your Income

Proverbs 3:9 Honor the Lord from your wealth and from the first of all your produce

5) Let Love for God, the Gospel, and for God’s Servants be your Guide.

John 21:17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Tend My sheep.

6) Bring Your Desire to Completion

2 Corinthians 8:10-11 I give my opinion in this matter, for this is to your advantage, who were the first to begin a year ago not only to do this, but also to desire to do it. But now finish doing it also, so that just as there was the readiness to desire it, so there may be also the completion of it by your ability.

 New American Standard Bible: 1995 update

#6 Why Missionaries Speak in Churches–Because of 2 Corinthians 8-9

God has given us a beautiful description of New Testament giving, and His instruction to us for financial giving. We should marvel as God’s wonderful plan that allow us to join Him in blessing the world with His Truth.

The context of 2 Corinthians chapters 8-9 is Paul’s desire to help Christians in Jerusalem who are suffering from lack of financial resources. Paul was on a journey collecting money from churches outside of Jerusalem to help the Christians in Jerusalem.

In Paul’s instruction for New Testament giving, we have two chapters in God’s Holy Book dedicated to helping us know how to give.

A simple question: Why do you think God gave us two chapters on giving?

The Macedonian Churches set the Example for Giving

Macedonia was roughly in the southern Balkins and Greece.

2 Corinthians 8:1 Now, brethren, we wish to make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the churches of Macedonia, 2 that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality. 3 For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability, they gave of their own accord, 4 begging us with much urging for the favor of participation in the support of the saints, 5 and this, not as we had expected, but they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God.

  1. It is God’s unmerited favor that motivates one to sacrificially give.
  2. The ability to sacrificially give is not limited by wealth.
  3. Extraordinary enthusiasm accompanies sacrificial giving.

2 Corinthians 8:6 So we urged Titus that as he had previously made a beginning, so he would also complete in you this gracious work as well.

Titus was assigned to help the Corinthian church collect funds for the offering for the needy saints. Paul is saying to the Corinthians that Titus needed to complete the task which he had started. Once a commitment has been made, it is very important to carry it to its conclusion. God does not like unkept promises.

2 Corinthians 8:7 But just as you abound in everything, in faith and utterance and knowledge and in all earnestness and in the love we inspired in you, see that you abound in this gracious work also.

Giving is one gracious work in us. We show God’s work in us by our willingness to give.

2 Corinthians 8:8 I am not speaking this as a command, but as proving through the earnestness of others the sincerity of your love also.

We are not commanded to give, but giving shows our love in a tangible way. There is a saying, “Talk is Cheap.” It means that anyone can say anything, but the proof is in what they actually do. Talk is cheap but giving is not.

Jesus is our Example for Giving

2 Corinthians 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.

What does Jesus example have to do with giving?

What we say, We should do

2 Corinthians 8:10 I give my opinion in this matter, for this is to your advantage, who were the first to begin a year ago not only to do this, but also to desire to do it. 11 But now finish doing it also, so that just as there was the readiness to desire it, so there may be also the completion of it by your ability.

The desire placed in our heart by God should be acted upon. This is how Deb and I became missionaries. It was our fervent desire that helped us through the very difficult times.

Giving is a Matter of Equality

2 Corinthians 8:12 For if the readiness is present, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have. 13 For this is not for the ease of others and for your affliction, but by way of equality— 14 at this present time your abundance being a supply for their need, so that their abundance also may become a supply for your need, that there may be equality; 15 as it is written, “He who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little had no lack.”

Friend, How would you summarize this?

Giving must be done Wisely

2 Corinthians 8:16 But thanks be to God who puts the same earnestness on your behalf in the heart of Titus. 17 For he not only accepted our appeal, but being himself very earnest, he has gone to you of his own accord. 18 We have sent along with him the brother whose fame in the things of the gospel has spread through all the churches; 19 and not only this, but he has also been appointed by the churches to travel with us in this gracious work, which is being administered by us for the glory of the Lord Himself, and to show our readiness, 20 taking precaution so that no one will discredit us in our administration of this generous gift; 21 for we have regard for what is honorable, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men. 22 We have sent with them our brother, whom we have often tested and found diligent in many things, but now even more diligent because of his great confidence in you. 23 As for Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker among you; as for our brethren, they are messengers of the churches, a glory to Christ.

Why did the churches appoint a team to collect the offering for the needy saints?

Giving reveals our Love

2 Corinthians 8:24 Therefore openly before the churches, show them the proof of your love and of our reason for boasting about you.

Giving must be administered wisely

2 Corinthians 9:1 For it is superfluous for me to write to you about this ministry to the saints; 2 for I know your readiness, of which I boast about you to the Macedonians, namely, that Achaia has been prepared since last year, and your zeal has stirred up most of them. 3 But I have sent the brethren, in order that our boasting about you may not be made empty in this case, so that, as I was saying, you may be prepared; 4 otherwise if any Macedonians come with me and find you unprepared, we—not to speak of you—will be put to shame by this confidence.5 So I thought it necessary to urge the brethren that they would go on ahead to you and arrange beforehand your previously promised bountiful gift, so that the same would be ready as a bountiful gift and not affected by covetousness.

Why did Paul send a team to Corinth ahead of himself?

The Law of Sowing and Reaping

2 Corinthians 9:6 Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.

What does this verse mean? We have seen this principle repeatedly in our study.

Biblical Giving is Purposeful Giving

2 Corinthians 9:7 Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

What should be our feeling when giving?

God takes care of the those who Give

2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed; 9 as it is written, “He scattered abroad, he gave to the poor, His righteousness endures forever.” 10 Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness; 11 you will be enriched in everything for all liberality, which through us is producing thanksgiving to God.

What does God do for those who give?

Giving accomplishes many Wonderful Things

2 Corinthians 9:12 For the ministry of this service is not only fully supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God. 13 Because of the proof given by this ministry, they will glorify God for your obedience to your confession of the gospel of Christ and for the liberality of your contribution to them and to all, 14 while they also, by prayer on your behalf, yearn for you because of the surpassing grace of God in you.

What does graceful giving accomplish?

Giving back is Awesome!

2 Corinthians 9:15 Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

 New American Standard Bible: 1995 update.

Boston and Beyond 2019-07-08

Dear Fellow-workers for the Truth (3John8),

Recently a dear friend asked me why missionaries speak in churches. As a result, we have had an extensive study of missionary giving. The first lesson was from 3 John, which reminded me how dear each one of you are to Deb and me. We know that you are fellow-workers for the Truth—Thank you. 

Our ministry/life schedule is becoming steadily busier. Our days are filled with wonderfully important meetings, Bible studies, communications and interactions, but we are having difficulty managing it all. We need your prayers for wisdom to order our schedules. One part of ordering our schedules is making sure you have what you need from us, so you can pray for us. 

Our plan is to resume sending a short weekly prayer update covering the various aspects of our ministry lives: 1) personal needs 2) the five areas of Boston and Beyond that are simultaneously progressing 3) Our online ministry presence. 4) Our Urban Peaks ministry. Today I will just list the areas with a general prayer request. In subsequent weeks, one area will be highlighted.

Personal Needs: Spiritually, physically, and mentally fit so we can effectively minister and accomplish the stewardship God has given us.

Boston and Beyond—Ten churches in globally connected cities to reach all ten civilizations.  

International Baptist Church—A church which ministers to the whole world in Boston.

Evangelistic Ministry—Extensive International evangelistic relationships & Bible studies 

Recruiting—Tentmakers, Career oriented professionals, and vocational missionaries

DemographicStudies—The selection of the ten most strategic Great Commission Cities

Launching our Ministry Teams—The formation of ministry church planting teams

Online Ministry Presence—Website, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Blog, and Linkedin

Urban Peaks—Rock climbing ministry to underserved kids

Being efficient in all these areas will cause the gospel to take root in Boston and Beyond—Please Pray.

Praise the Lord—A supporting church has decided to give $2,000.00 dollars towards our collapsible tables, which designed for small places like our city apartment/cocoon. 

Additional Prayer Request—We need 12 chairs from Expand Furniture. They are very slim and easy to store. The total cost for the chairs $1,785.00  Slim chairs

We love You, 

Bill and Deb

#5 Why Missionaries Speak in Churches Because their is a Culture of Giving

We have been studying why missionaries speak in churches. So far I have given four reasons why we (missionaries do so): 1) We believe we should not go to non-Christians to support Christian ministry. Those who give become fellow-workers for the truth. 2) The labor is worthy of his hire, which is why Paul was not shy about asking churches to help him on his way. 3) God desires that Christians show their trust by giving the first part of their income to Him for Christian ministry. 4) We missionaries, while needing to be content with what we have, know it is good for Christians to give. Giving to Christian missionaries and Christian ministries causes Christian growth and maturity.

Today we will look at another reason why missionaries speak in churches. Missionaries know that certain churches have a culture of giving. These churches have been taught that God expects them to provide for the ministry of the church, which includes missions. Habibi, I personally have gone to hundreds of churches who have this culture of giving, which I will now describe to you.

The culture of giving in the churches, which I am familiar, is based upon principles found in the Old Testament. Let’s start at the beginning.

Genesis 14: 17 Then after his (Abraham’s) return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him (Abraham) at the valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley). 18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; now he was a priest of God Most High. 19 He blessed him (Abraham) and said, “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; 20 And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” He gave him (Melchizedek) a tenth of all.

After Abraham and his men defeated those who had kidnapped his nephew Lot, Abraham was greeted by a priest of the Most High God. What two things did Melchizedek say about the Most High God? How did Abraham respond to Melchizedek and this information about the Most High God?

Abraham desired to show his thankfulness to God by giving a tenth of everything he earned to Him. There is no record of a command of God to do so. Abraham just did what he thought was appropriate.

Genesis 28:18 So Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on its top. 19 He called the name of that place Bethel; however, previously the name of the city had been Luz. 20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will keep me on this journey that I take, and will give me food to eat and garments to wear, 21 and I return to my father’s house in safety, then the Lord will be my God. 22 “This stone, which I have set up as a pillar, will be God’s house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.

Why did Jacob vow to give a tenth to God?

In Jacob’s situation, he was facing an uncertain future, so he made a vow to God that he would give God one tenth of all this resources if God preserved him.

Numbers 18:21 “To the sons of Levi, behold, I have given all the tithe in Israel for an inheritance, in return for their service which they perform, the service of the tent of meeting.

Notice that God actually demanded the Israelites give a tenth of all their produce to God’s servants.

That which is a law in the Old Testament (giving a tenth) is only a principle or pattern in the New Testament. In the New Testament, God does not give a command to give a certain percentage of our wealth. I think this is because He desires for us to let love be our guide.

John 21:15 So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He *said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My lambs.”

Notice that Jesus did not command Peter. Instead He asked, Do you love me? If you do then show it by caring for my lambs. If we love Jesus, we take care for His children. This takes our whole life to do so. It is our business as Christians to live life so others can hear of Christ and be saved. Financing Christian ministry is only one part of this.

Romans 12:1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

What does God want us to do? Is this a command?

God desires that we give our life to him. Everything we are and have should be placed before God for His use.

Romans 12:3 For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.

Each one of us should ask God how we should serve Him.

Romans 12:4 For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

We should serve as God has prepared us to serve.

Romans 12:6 Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; 7 if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; 8 or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

What is God asking of you?

Observations:

  1. God gives a pattern of giving 10% of our income.
  2. Our love for Jesus and His people should be our motivation to give.
  3. If it is our Spiritual gift to give, we should do it liberally.
  4. Missionaries speak in churches because some churches love Jesus and want to give to build His church.

#4 Why Missionaries Speak in Churches The Gospel/Love Motivation

Introduction/Review

In 3 John we learned that it is good to give to missionaries for three reasons: 1) Missionaries minister Jesus to the world. 2) Biblical correct missionaries receive money only from Christians believing that God’s work should be supported by God’s people. 3) We become fellow-workers with missionaries when we support them financially.

In 1 Timothy 5, we discovered that the labor is worthy of his hire. That is to say, those who minister the gospel should be able to count on others to support them as they do so. This is why Paul was bold in asking Christian churches to support him as he journeyed on gospel ministry trips.

In Proverbs 3 and related passages of Scripture, we were taught the principle of giving the first portion of our income back to God. By doing so we exercise our faith and trust in God. We show that money is not our idol and that our ultimate wellbeing is knowing and trusting in the God of the universe.

Today we will learn about the proper motivation of the one who gives and the one who receives.

Philippians 1: 1 Paul and Timothy, bond-servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the overseers and deacons: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4 always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, 5 in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now.

I am interested in Paul’s phraseology, “participation in the gospel from the first day until now.” Without reading the rest of the book of Philippians, one might think that Paul is only talking about the Philippians participating in Paul’s witness concerning Jesus Christ, but, as we will see, Paul had more than witnessing in mind.

Philippians 4:10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity.

By reading verses Philippians 4:14-15, it is easier to understand what this passage is about. Paul is telling the Philippians that he is glad that they are helping him financially.

Philippians 4:11 Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 12 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. 13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

Is Paul in need of money? How does Paul feel about having an abundance of things or lacking some essential things? Is Paul begging for money?

14 Nevertheless, you have done well to share with me in my affliction. 15 You yourselves also know, Philippians, that at the first preaching of the gospel, after I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you alone; 16 for even in Thessalonica you sent a gift more than once for my needs.

How does Paul feel about the Philippians helping him? What did Paul like about their giving practices?

17 Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account.

What is important to Paul about the gift which was given to him by the Philippians?

18 But I have received everything in full and have an abundance; I am amply supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you have sent, a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God.

To what extent was Paul’s need covered? How did God view the financial help, which the Philippians gave to Paul?

19 And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

In Proverbs 3:10, we learned that, by giving our first fruits to God,, our barns will be filled (our needs will be more than adequately covered). What does Paul tell the Philippians about God’s care for them? Why does Paul feel this way?

Observations:

Philippians helps us understand how the the one who gives to ministry needs should view (understand) their giving, and how the one who receives the gift should view (understand) the implications of the gift.

The one who gives should understand that giving is good in the eyes of God and that such gifts are exceedingly pleasing to Him. God is pleased with the one who gives sacrificially to His work and to His servants.

The one to whom the gift comes should know how to live without the gift, and should be mostly concerned for the welfare of the giver. He (the one receiving the gift) knows that it is good to give and that it will help the spiritual welfare of the person who gives.

So Philippians gives a beautiful picture of the mutual love represented by giving. The one who gives loves God, God’s work on earth and the one doing that work. The one who receives the gift is not desperate for the gift, but is concerned for the welfare of the one who is giving–a beautiful love relationship.

 New American Standard Bible: 1995 update.

#3 Why Missionaries Speak in Churches Giving should be our Priority

This devotional does not perfectly fit the subject of this series of devotionals, but I came across this passage in my daily devotions and thought it would be good to add.

Where should I place my Trust?

Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.

Trusting the Lord means understanding His Word (the Bible) and obeying the commands and principles found in the Bible. Trusting Him in this way at times seems counter intuitive (crazy). This is particularly true when it comes to our finances. As we will see, God expects us to give to Him the first part of what He has given to us–How crazy is that?

Can the acquisition of Wealth become too Important?

Proverbs 23:4–5 Do not weary your self to gain wealth, Cease from your consideration of it. When you set your eyes on it, it is gone. For wealth certainly makes itself wings like an eagle that flies toward the heavens.

Like any other thing, when wealth becomes the main motivational factor of our lives, it becomes an idol–something good that becomes bad (evil) when placed too high in our list of priorities. We must worship the creator not the created.

About what should I boast?

Jeremiah 9:23–24 Thus says the Lord, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the Lord.

Jeremiah reminds us not to boast of our wisdom, might or riches. Wisdom is a good thing as are riches and might. The point is that our our boast, our confidence should be the Lord. He is the One who ultimately protects us, not our wisdom or riches or might, but the Lord God Almighty who fights for us and protects us. He protects and provides for us.

Is Wealth Good or Bad?

Proverbs 3:16 Long life is in her right hand; In her left hand are riches and honor.

This Proverb is referring to wisdom when it uses the personal pronoun “her”. Notice that long life, riches and honor are the by-products of living according to wisdom. Therefore, we may safely say that riches are not a bad thing but a good gift from God to those who love and fear Him first and who seek to live in accordance with His instruction.

How much do I trust the Lord?

Proverbs 3:9–10 Honor the Lord from your wealth and from the first of all your produce; So your barns will be filled with plenty and your vats will overflow with new wine.

This is an admonition to give the first portion of our wealth back to God, who first gave it to us. Giving to God in this age means giving to churches and missionaries and ministries in order to make the gospel of Jesus Christ known. As I said above, this may seem counter intuitive, but it is clearly the way of God. What a wonderful way to show our trust in God by giving generously from what He has given to us to support Christian workers, Christian churches, and Christian ministries.

What does the Scripture say is true for those who give the first part of their income back to God?

Observations:

1. Everything begins with trust in God. 

2. All good things come from trusting God. 

3. Might, wisdom or riches must not become more important than knowing God, because that would deform them, making them into idols.

4. Might, riches and wisdom are good, wonderful as a by product of loving and pursuing God.

5. The priority of giving to God reflects our trust in God.

6. Proverbs 3:10 explains that those who faithfully give the first part of their income are rewarded with more riches.

#2 Why Missionaries Speak in Churches The Ox with Beautiful Feet–Missionaries, Pastors and Finances

Wild grown-up male musk ox feeding, grazing in a forest glade. Sunny summer day the animal sheds hair.

In our last devotional, we talked about our opportunity to become fellow-laborers with missionaries. Today we will look at two things: 1) Financially caring for those who minister (teach or admonish us), the Word to us. For me, this means making sure my pastor who teaches me each Sunday and who cares for my spiritual well-being is financially cared for. 1Timothy 5 teaches me why I should do so. 2) We will also look at the phase or idea of sending missionaries on their way, and what that means. I hope that this series of devotionals will help us understand how our good and loving God desires to bless us with the privilege of caring for His vocational (those who live by and for the gospel) servants.

Caring for the Ox

1Timothy 5:17 Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. 18 For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.”

The word “Elders” refers to those pastors who have the responsibility of preaching and teaching the Word of God.

What does the Scripture mean when saying that elders who teach or preach well are worthy of double honor?

How does verse 18 illustrate verse 17?

According to the last part of verse 18, Is it enough for a pastor or missionary to do the work of ministry or should they have another occupation also?

My Observation:

We should financially care for those who teach us the Word of God, and who helps us live our lives with God.

Helping Missionaries

Yesterday, we studied 3John and learned that it is good to financially support missionaries. The passages below support that conclusion.

Acts 15: 3 Therefore, being sent on their way by the church, they were passing through both Phoenicia and Samaria, describing in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and were bringing great joy to all the brethren.

It is not completely clear, but I believe the phrase, being sent on their way refers to the church helping them financially travel to various places in order to minister the gospel.

Romans 15:24 whenever I go to Spain—for I hope to see you in passing, and to be helped on my way there by you, when I have first enjoyed your company for a while— 25 but now, I am going to Jerusalem serving the saints.

Paul’s hope, which he clearly communicated, was for the church at Rome (wonder if they kissed him on his lips) to help him financially as he traveled on to Spain.

1 Corinthians 16:I will visit you after passing through Macedonia, for I intend to pass through Macedonia, and perhaps I will stay with you or even spend the winter, so that you may help me on my journey, wherever I go. 

Paul’s desire, which he clearly communicated, was for the Corinthian church to help him financially on his missionary journey.

1 Corinthian 16:10 When Timothy comes, see that you put him at ease among you, for he is doing the work of the Lord, as I am. 11 So let no one despise him. Help him on his way in peace, that he may return to me, for I am expecting him with the brothers. 

Paul also clearly communicated his desire for the Corinthian church to financially help Timothy.

2 Corinthians 1:16 I wanted to visit you on my way to Macedonia, and to come back to you from Macedonia and have you send me on my way to Judea

Paul not only asked the Corinthian church to financially help him go to Spain, but he also asked them to help him financially on his way to Judea.

Titus 3:13 Do your best to speed Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way; see that they lack nothing.

Paul instructed Titus to make sure Zenas traveled well by being financially generous .

The Beautiful Feet of Missionaries

Romans 10: 14 How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? 15 How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!”

There is nothing more wonderful than hearing and understanding God’s love letter of salvation. However, we cannot hear without someone telling us. Someone cannot tell us unless they are sent to tell us. Those sent ones need to be supported. It is a beautiful thing to support those with beautiful feet.

My Observations:

  1. Because Christian workers, work they should be paid for it–a laborer is worthy his hire.
  2. Christian workers should be paid double if they do a good job.
  3. Missionaries cannot obey their calling if others do not pay their way.
  4. It is the responsibility of the Christian worker to ask Christians to help them financially.
  5. It is the responsibility, joy and honor for the Christian to join the missionaries work by taking care of their financial need in a bountiful way–lacking nothing.

 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016).