DEFINING THE WORTHY: Qualifying Clergy, Church, and Ministry Donations (1)

         “How was it possible that the Lord could just go up to men and call them into ministry, telling them to leave their jobs and livelihoods, without somehow taking care of them and their families financially?”

.     .     .

         Jesus said to him, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” [Matthew 8:20]

         No one is more selfless and humble than the Lord Jesus.

         I have promoted a truth on this site in several posts and comments that I have never heard preached or taught anywhere else. It has to do with the Lord and money. How did He finance His ministry?

         Most Christians never consider this question. Here’s the bigger question, however: How was it possible that the Lord could just go up to men and call them into ministry, telling them to leave their jobs and livelihoods, without somehow taking care of them and their families financially? These men were all working very hard to make a living. Their wives and children needed them. How could they just drop everything and walk off with the Lord? Who would take care of their own?

         The reason this equation is a stumper and head-scratcher for many Christians is probably because they have been taught the Lord was poor. The preceding passage of Scripture seems to denote this: He had nowhere to lay His head. But the apostles, their wives, and their children had to be provided for during the Lord’s ministry and their simultaneous spiritual education. The necessary money was certainly not coming from the synagogues or other rabbis. This leaves only one possibility: It came from the Lord. It was He who had the money. There were later donations, of course, but He didn’t go around making collections of the vast sums He would need prior to His ministry.

         When one considers all the people He had to take care of, including as well older relatives dependent on these apostle families, the number is substantial. I’ve written before that it could be like it was when Jacob and his extended family moved to Egypt at the behest of Joseph. There were seventy people (Genesis 46:27). It was roughly the same with the Lord.

         In our day, we have what is virtually the very opposite: One man becomes a preacher and puts the onus on the many to provide for him. This is not necessarily a bad thing. The standard in the recent past was that a local preacher would take a church and receive the tithe. This was his understood entitlement. If the church was small he would not receive much and would have to work like everyone else to supplement his income. Larger churches had more money. You see where this is going…

         The only answer, then, for how the Lord was able to start His ministry from scratch and immediately stock it with chosen disciples was simply that He had to pay their way. He provided for them. This meant He had to have money. Where did He get it? HE EARNED IT. He worked very hard as a carpenter and builder until He was thirty years old. He took care of His mother and siblings after Joseph died. He saved His money for His later purpose in life.

         But He was also provided for as well, long before He could provide on His own. It was a picture of divine providence in which heaven was interspersing itself into the needs of humanity according to scriptural promise, investing in the One who would later give everything He had, when the One was very young…

         After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. [Matthew 2:11] [1]

         © 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

         Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Posted on August 3, 2016, in Teaching and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. If the Lord has called you to a work, He will most definitely provide for you.

    I have been hitchhiking the United States for most of the past 20 years. I do odd jobs (farm work, ranch work, unloading trucks, carpenter work, lawn work, landscape work—labor work, etc.), people kick me down a few bucks here and there or they buy me a meal once in a while. It is all part of God’s economy and God’s provision for someone who is surrendered to His will.

    Just yesterday I got a ride with a lady and she bought me a meal here in western Montana. She also bought me a couple of bars of soap. I hitchhiked to Lolo, MT, walked to my campsite (I have slept there many times over the years), walked to Lolo Creek and bathed and washed my clothes. I was very grateful (I sure smell a lot better).

    Seek the Kingdom of Heaven first . . .

    Like

    • Yes, my good friend. He always provides. He’s the best. Glad for the blessings you write about. Been there often. Your trip to the creek reminds me of a book by a friend of mine who wrote about going to the creek as a kid in the South with a bar of Ivory soap in his back pocket. I don’t know if the book is available but you can look for it. The title is “Cotton Tales.” My friend’s name is Lynn Reddick. He has several books out. He’s a good man. Be blessed, Tim. I have prayed for you today.

      Liked by 1 person

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