In the early 90’s we were involved in giving money monthly to World Vision to support a young boy of 10 or so. He was located on the island of Bali in the nation of Indonesia.
It was our first real foray into this type of mercy ministry. The organization sent us the obligatory picture to pin on our world map in the living room, along with some brief biographical background. I remember being so thrilled that we were giving money overseas.
After a letter or two from the World Vision workers over the first year on the boy’s coming and goings, we never hear a peep from them about the Lord Jesus. So, I wrote a letter asking why not.
One day another letter arrived with their response. The workers sheepishly explained that the boy was from a radical Islamic family and they could never mention the name of Jesus! Needless to say, I was appalled. And heartbroken to say the least.
We stopped contributing that next month with a letter to the President of World Vision. Sometime later, a form letter showed up essentially telling us thanks and a sort of polite ‘don’t let the screen door hit you on the way out.’ Again, I was appalled. As of this time, World Vision generates $1,000,000,000+ a year from mostly unsuspecting people. Yes, that’s a billion dollars.
Missing the real truth helps no one
The true Truth was missing in this boy’s life. He was lost and headed for the lake of fire for eternal torment. Not knowing about this Truth was the direct fault of the workers there in this so-called “ministry” as well as the President of World Vision. Shame on them all. How dare we hold back the Name above all names with which everyone can be saved from their sins and the wrath to come!
So then, how do we prioritize giving our money for the Lord’s work? We assume and are usually taught that we give what’s left over and first to mercy ministry.
We turn to the Word of God for our direction on understanding and living out the heart of God Almighty. We know from past teachings here at Walk Worthy that our role in the eternal purpose of God is to help populate, mature, and complete the kingdom of God.
Jesus Christ spends more time in His gospels talking about money and mammon than any other doctrine or subject, about 15% of the total. And the apostle Paul has a lot to say about this vital subject as well.
Stewardship as defined by God in Luke 12.42 is the proper use and service of all the gracious gifts of the Giver that He gives us to manage in life. Money is just one part. It’s an important part, but it is only one part.
You may notice I did not title this piece with the word “stewardship.” That term is so much more encompassing on our whole life than just money.
Our body, soul, an spirit is on loan from the Giver to use properly. As is all our time, spiritual gifts, spouse, children, grandchildren, fellow believers, and our life ministry for Him.
Every good and perfect gift comes down from our Father (James 1.17). They are all given to us, His steward or manager and treasurer.
Back to the money part now. Let’s recap some of the basics of money in the New Covenant.
We are to be content with only food and covering, with no long term savings (1 Tim. 6.8).
Being given daily bread only for provision is our prayer to the Father is the norm (Matt 6.11).
Our eternal destiny may be linked to our sacrificial living (Luke 16.25).
There is a curse, a woe, placed upon the wealthy (Luke 6.24-25).
We are to be shrewd with the unrighteous mammon by living on the bare essentials unlike the pagans for all the unnecessary saved money will fail us (Luke 16.9).
If we fail at this and end up really serving money, we will hate God for it is impossible to serve both Him and wealth (Luke 16.13).
Saving to buy a very very small home is expected (Luke 18.28).
Some of us will be entrepreneurs as business owners and provide jobs for others (Luke 5.10).
We’re to sell all our excess possessions and give the money to charity, in contrast with the failing treasure here on earth (Luke 12.33).
God loves a cheerful and zealous giver (2 Cor. 9.7).
We are not to give only out of our abundance, but sacrificially so it might be our very last possession (Mark 12.42-44).
We cannot be disciples if we do not give up all our excess possessions (Luke 14.33).
Helping the disenfranchised will help determine our eternal destiny as a sheep or goat (Matt. 25.41-43).
We should be eager to help the poor (Gal. 2.10, 2 Cor. 8-9).
The poor we will have with us forever until the return of Jesus (Matt. 26.11).
Jesus commands rich leaders to sell all excess possessions and give the money to the poor (Luke 18.22).
Jesus warns rich people who fail to help the poor are fools and end up in hell (Luke 12.20).
Paul was poor (2 Cor. 6.10) and we are to imitate him as he follows Christ (1 Cor. 4.16; 1 Cor. 11.1).
Itinerate church planting apostles are to be financially supported by the churches (1 Cor. 9.4-11, Titus 3.13).
We are to financially support those teachers among us in our gatherings and sphere of life (Gal. 6.6).
Elders who rule and work hard and preaching and teaching should receive double honor in the form of high value in the body as well as financial support (1 Tim. 5.17-18).
It makes little to no eternal difference to God’s kingdom if we give our money primarily for mercy ministry and the pure true truth is not proclaimed fully and lived out. This well fed and clothed poor soul very well might still end up in hell, while living the American gospel and causing others to stumble.
We see the importance of the whole counsel of God in Paul’s final words to his beloved Ephesians.
Acts 20:25-27 “And now, behold, I know that all of you, among whom I went about preaching the kingdom, will no longer see my face. Therefore, I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God…”
The true and whole Truth is paramount and first. This is what our brother here emphasized at the end. If he failed, he would be guilty of the blood of these souls.
In his letter to them, what did Paul use as the first piece of spiritual armor to put on and where was it applied on the soldiers body?
Ephesians 6:14 Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH…
The paramount piece of armor is the truth. And it protects the most sensitive part of a male’s human anatomy: his groin. I can tell you from my own painful experience in fights as an unsaved boy that if a man gets hits there, the fight is all but over.
The number one problem that Paul and the apostles fought from day one after Pentecost was false teachers and closely followed by false prophets. These holy men use copious amounts of precious space in the New Covenant admonishing the saints to discern and defend the Truth of our Lord and Savior.
It is still the same today.
The priority of Gospel preaching and healing is clear and consistent
In Bible interpretation, or hermeneutics, we teach that we are to look for repetition, order in Line, the clear and consistent. Here we see this in action.
Matthew 4:23 Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people.
Matthew 9:35 Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.
Luke 4:18-19 “THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME, BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR. HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES, AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND, TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED, TO PROCLAIM THE FAVORABLE YEAR OF THE LORD.”
Luke 9:6 Departing, they began going throughout the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere.
We see the preaching of the gospel almost always first, followed by the healing, or this particular part of mercy ministry. Again, the mercy ministry is of little value without the truth of God for kingdom requirements.
Here we see nothing in this vital summary of end times prophesy about the supreme importance of giving money to the poor or other mercy ministry. But we do see the active spoken gospel of the kingdom through the spoken word.
Matthew 24:14 “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come….”
Ancient leaders do indeed proclaim the need for support of the poor and to perform healing. Hear me please that I’m not discounting this importance. But it is dwarfed in comparison to the emphasis on the truth of the gospel, and almost never given first priority. Whole epistles and letters are written on this fact of truth.
We know specifically that Jesus was supported financially by women who followed His ministry (Luke 8.3). And let us remember that His primarily call was that of proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom first, then healing. The Holy Scriptures also record it in that order (Matt. 4.24, 9.35, 11.15, 24.14). For as many miracles as He performed, the bulk of His record was still His gospel teaching.
Paul profusely thanks the Philippians for their financial support so he may continue his apostolic duties. And this was the preaching of the gospel truth. We must remember he said that a curse, a woe, would be upon him if he did not preach the gospel (1 Cor. 9.16).
As seen a bit earlier here, He also solemnly testified to the Ephesian elders and their body, people who He had loved and would never see again on this earth, that he was innocent of the blood of men since He preached the whole counsel of God…the whole truth of God. There is no mention in this oral resume of his mercy ministry among them (Acts 20.24-27).
Many perform mercy ministry worldwide…who are lost and even in cults. We can see the horrendous error in thinking with these words attributed to Francis of Assisi, “Preach the gospel, and only use words if necessary.” Cute, but dead wrong. Jesus was perfect, flawless, and He preached the kingdom gospel incessantly. Praise Him!
We’re all bombarded with offers to support mercy ministry to disenfranchised souls, especially in third world environments. And we should give sacrificially to these as well as God provides.
Give to the purest truth tellers first. Give to local truth tellers and those in your sphere anywhere in your own country and around the globe. But not to the stonewallers who are irreconcilable and who refuse to preserve the unity.
Personally, I even give financially to apostles, preachers, and teachers as the Lord brings them to me who I disagree with but seem open to preserve the unity and search together while moving to the whole gospel truth. They are very rare, but they’re out there if we listen to the Holy Spirit and keep our eyes and ears open to His leading.
As the lower priority after first supporting the gospel preaching, ask God who to give directly to local mercy ministry. Try to avoid the organized church routes since so much is convoluted with all this. Overseas mercy ministry is always last in priorities, like overseas missions.
Like me, you may be short of the cash at times with all you would like to give, but you have, or make, time to serve. Personally, I give financially sacrificially as I can and also serve countless hours in mercy ministry as the Lord God opens the doors. I am active in preaching, discipling, as well as looking for other fruitful ways to serve Him and His kingdom!
What now in your financial giving?
Knowing all this truth now, where and what should we give?
Gospel preaching and discipleship first, then mercy ministry. Local first. Purest first. But to both, and sacrificially until it hurts.
The heinous sin of the western Christian financial planners is espousing to save for your carnal desires of comfort, investment, and “retirement” when so many others now are needy of those precious financial resources we have hoarded away.
Let’s update this passage from Amos 6 for our modern times.
Amos 6:1,4,7-8 Woe to those who are at ease in God’s body. And to those who feel secure in the worldwide church, including the distinguished men of the foremost of leaders…
All those people too who recline on fancy beds, and sprawl on their couches ingratiating themselves, and eat very fine food…therefore, they will now go into exile at the head of the exiles when I send the New World Order to purify My church, and the sprawlers’ banqueting and being busy with amusement instead of serving Me will pass away.
The Lord GOD has sworn by Himself, the LORD God of hosts has declared: “I loathe the arrogance of these people in My body, and detest their fancy and multiple houses; therefore I will deliver up their houses, church buildings, and all it contains.”
Do you really want to impact the kingdom in a maximum way? Or is this passage from our brother Isaiah a more accurate description?
Isaiah 29:13 Then the Lord said, “Because this people draw near with their words and honor Me with their lip service, but they remove their hearts far from Me, and their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote (repetition)…”
Then we must financially give properly as a holy and righteous steward of the King.
And how much should we give?
Much, much more.
Discover more about money and God’s kingdom here.
Please comment on this post right below. Feel free to write and proclaim your leadings in the Spirit in an honorable fashion.
Your friend and brother in fighting the good fight,
Saints, we’re one day closer to Home, and Him! Love Him wholeheartedly!
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Please comment on this post right below. Feel free to write and proclaim your leadings in the Spirit in an honorable fashion.
Marc White, Director, Walk Worthy Ministries, www.WalkWorthy.org