You get an invitation to the annual fund-raising banquet. A support letter arrives in the mail. The offering bag, plate, or bucket gets passed on Sunday at church. We've all been asked for money, but the question is: What does God say about giving to ministry?
In the Bible, we see that Paul’s mission was to take the good news of Jesus to those who had never heard. He wanted to reach unreached places where there were no churches and no missionaries. And he knew he couldn’t do it alone. Paul's strategy was to invite the Christians in Rome to join him by giving generously so he could reach Spain:
“I hope to see you in passing as I go to Spain, and to be helped on my journey there by you.” Romans 15:24
Throughout Scripture, we see that the gospel advances when the different parts of the body work together. Some are gifted to speak. Some are gifted to serve. And some are gifted to give. But things move forward when we commit ourselves to a shared mission and each play our part.
Scripture says that those who work hard at preaching and teaching have a right to refrain from “working for a living” so they can instead focus on the gospel (1 Corinthians 9:6; 1 Timothy 5:17). Again in 1 Corinthians, Scripture says, “The Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel.” (1 Corinthians 9:14) To illustrate his point, Paul said:
- Soldiers don’t defend and protect us at their own expense. We pay them.
- Gardeners don’t grow food just to feed others. They eat some of their own produce.
- Farmers enjoy milk from their own animals.
- Hardworking oxen deserve to be well fed.
- And priests in the Old Testament times were given part of the temple offerings as their pay. 1 Corinthians 9:7-10, 13
Therefore, those who preach the gospel, defend God’s truth, protect God’s people, and feed God’s sheep ought to be well provided for.
It’s Not About The Money
Paul wasn’t sheepish about asking others to give because he was passionately convinced of the urgency and importance of spreading the gospel. Support-raising wasn’t about the money, it was about the gospel.
When people ask us for money for ministry we should hear it as an invitation to “support our troops.”
We have the only message that can eternally save and we’re called to spread it to everyone everywhere. And this massive mission requires a big supply line. For some to go, many will have to give. For some to work hard at preaching, many will have to work hard at giving.
Generosity is our chance to reach places we may never visit and people we may never meet in this life. When people ask us for money for ministry we should hear it as an invitation to “support our troops.”
So next time you get asked for money, take a deep breath and remember, it’s a supply line opportunity.