You received without paying; give without pay. Matthew 10:8b
Jesus tells his disciples to go out into the towns in pairs, but not to accept money for their acts of healing and mercy. Why?
Doing God’s work and receiving money for it is a slippery slope. Any minister will tell you that. Yes, missionaries and professionals in ministry need to earn a living, and God provides. But the temptation is once the coins are exchanged, that person begins to believe he or she earned it. Afterall, in the secular realm, you earn your pay (or so we would like to believe. I think we all know people who work half as much and make more).
But, as Christians, we minister in whatever capcity we are called to serve because we are commanded by the God who will provide. Is it wrong to receive compensation? No. Is it wrong to worry about how much we receive and if there is enough in the budget and did we do enough to earn it – yes. We cannot earn God’s favor.
This time of year, many churches have stewardship drives. The church needs money to pay for the phones, the utilities, the staff, literally to keep its doors open. But here is the catch. If a church is about the Lord’s work, if their primary purpose is doing what He wants them to do, the monies will be there. They will grow and flourish. If there is bickering, division and pride, it won’t. Plain and simple. If their thoughts are turned more inward than to outreaching into their community God will not bless that. If a congregation loses sight of its purpose and only concentrates of the temporal things, it will flounder. Having been a pledge treasurer for several missions, I know this to be true.
We do not deserve His favor and goodness towards us. The price was paid once and for all on Calvary without our doing anything or striving to earn it. God freely gives. We freely receive. We should freely pass it on, spreading His love, being His hands and feet. Just like the disciples, trusting God will provide for our needs so we can continue to do His work.
In this time of economic instability, that is something to remember. Personally and as a congregation.