©October 10, 2010 by Asher Intrater
The relationship between money and ministry is very sensitive. Let's look at a few issues:
We never do anything in the ministry for the sake of getting money. Yeshua said, "You can not serve God and Mammon" – Matthew 6:24. Of course we need money for the work of the Lord, and God knows that. He will provide. We are never to worry (Matthew 6:25). Yet the motives we have for serving the Lord are not to make a profit.
Therefore we are not to treat the word of God and the anointing of the Holy Spirit as a product to be marketed. It is not merchandise. "We are not like many who make commerce of the word of God" – II Corinthians 2:17. We are to be good stewards and act as responsible business professionals in the manner of our work, yet we are not to see the power of God as something to be sold. "Your money perish with you, for you thought to buy the gift of God with money" – Acts 8:20. The subtle ability to manipulate manifestations of God's grace as a trick to bring in donations is evil at its root (I Timothy 6:10).
Faith to Give
As we grow in faith, God teaches us to trust Him to be able to give more and more to help others. Yeshua purposely placed His disciples in a test. There were 5,000 men, in addition to women and children, in attendance. The people needed food. Yeshua said to His disciples, "You give them to eat" – Matthew 14:16. God demanded of them to change their identity from a taker to a giver, from being a needy person to being a supplier of needs. There is supernatural provision in faith.
Recently I felt God limiting my faith to be able to provide for the needs of our ministry. He wanted our staff and team members to grow in faith. After prayer, I told them, "Now you will begin to have faith to give and provide." This is part of discipleship. As we learn to give, God will provide. After the disciples fed the 5,000, Yeshua told them to gather all the crumbs. There were 12 baskets left over – enough for one basket to each disciple. God's economy is lavish in giving, yet frugal in expenses.
Paying taxes to the government is very costly and sometimes seems to be a waste of God's money. However, we are instructed to pay taxes as part of our faith in God (Romans 13:6). The tax services are not bothered by the fact that a person receives a lot of money. Quite the contrary – they just want their percentage of the income.
Yeshua instructed Peter to receive a supernatural supply of money to pay the religious tax on the Temple by taking money out of a fish's mouth (Matthew 17:27). He also instructed all the people to pay the secular tax to the government. "Give unto Caesar what is Caesar's; and unto God what is God's" – Matthew 22:21. We have to distinguish between God and Caesar. Those who have money are not necessarily more spiritual. On the other hand, we can't over-spiritualize money. We have to pay bills; and we have to pay taxes. The rabbis have an expression, "Without bread (flour), there is no Torah; and without Torah, there is no bread" – Pirke Avot 3.
There were moments in history of revival and abundance, where keeping records of every expense was not necessary (II Kings 22:7). However, in our world today, there is much suspicion and much financial pressure. We have to be diligent in keeping records correctly. The process of keeping records is what demonstrates integrity. "That no one should blame us in these great donations, which are administered by us. We have determined to act with integrity, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men" - II Corinthians 8:20-21. We purpose to show our morality, not just before God, but also toward men.
Don't Be Offended
One of the reasons that Judas betrayed Yeshua, was that he saw Miriam of Bethany pour expensive perfume on Yeshua. He thought it was wasteful. He was offended (and was also stealing money himself). This offense triggered his betrayal (Matthew 26:14). Don't let yourself fall into the same trap.
Comparing salaries and benefits can cause jealousy and anger. "Why does that person receive more than I do? I work harder than he does." Yeshua addressed this issue in the parable of the hired workers. Some worked longer hours. They expected more money. They were offended that they did not receive more. Yeshua answered, "Friend, I did not wrong you. Did you not agree to work for one denarius? Do I not have the right to do with my own money what I want? Are you envious because I am generous?" – Matthew 20:13, 15. The attitude that "I deserve this" is not appropriate when employed in service to the Lord. What we have is by His grace. One aspect of repentance is to be satisfied with one's earnings (Luke 3:14).
Wealth of the Nations
There are amazing promises of prosperity in the Bible. There are even prophecies that the "wealth of the nations" will come to us (Isaiah 60:5; 60:9; 60:11; 60:16; 61:6; Zechariah 14:14). Why would God want to bring us the wealth of the nations? It is not for us to live in luxury. The wealth of the nations will come to us in order to bring the gospel to the nations. Our motivation is not to GET the wealth of the nations, but to USE it. We desire not to take money from them but to give salvation to them. We need to enlarge our faith for giving, our faith for receiving, and our faith for the kingdom of God.
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Please PRAY for our ongoing ministry in Israel of indigenous evangelism, planting Messianic congregations, the discipleship training center, prophetic praise and prayer watches in Hebrew, and financial aid for the needy.