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Preaching for Dollars!

Feb 22, 2006 at 10:46

By: Steve Hill

WARNING- the following contains views that are not balanced. They are based upon words of Jesus and Paul from the Bible!

While having a conversation about finance, I was reminded of that old rule: "Follow the money!" Or, to paraphrase Jesus: "If you want to know where someone's heart is, find out where they put their treasure!"

Please read the following three Scriptures about the allocation of resources:

First: II Corinthians 8 & 9 which is all about Paul raising money for the poor saints at Jerusalem.

Second: Matthew 25:31- 46 where Jesus says "If you did it to the least of these, My brethren, you did it to me."

Third: Matthew 6:33 which promises us that "all things" will be added to us if we "seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness".

The kingdom is not the king! The kingdom is not something "out there"! The kingdom is people! The kingdom is made up of "the least of these". Where there are no people, there is no kingdom. And the righteousness referred to here is not imputed but rather the righteous acts referenced by Paul in II Corinthians 9:10. The act of giving to the poor! The money laid at the apostles' feet (Acts 4:35) was not for executive lifestyles but for distribution to the poor! Follow the money! Find the heart!

There are no building programs here. There is no "edifice complex" here. Is the church the building or the people? We all know the correct answer but where does the money trail lead? Does it lead to living stones or dead ones?

The reason Paul was raising money for the poor saints was so "that there may be equality". That is II Corinthians 8:14! Have you ever heard that verse used in preaching about giving!

I have not!

I have heard verse 9 of that chapter used to preach personal prosperity. Jesus did become poor that we might become rich but the context for that verse is the responsibility of generous and sacraficial giving to the poor so that there could be equality, so that God could be thanked and so that the givers could be prayed for by the poor who, according to James, are "rich in faith" (James 2:5).

Sowing into good ground is one of the standard themes of those who speak from II Corinthians 8:9. Often the implication (if not direct statement) is that the person preaching is the good ground. They are wealthy and blessed and therefore if you sow into their lives and ministries your seed will produce good fruit. You will prosper! Where is that in the bible? If they really believed their own seed faith message, they would just sow their own money and reap. Why would they need to collect yours?

Some even imply that the poor are bad ground! However the promise of "abundance for every good work" is given to those who "give to the poor" (II Corinthians 9:8 & 9)! The promise of health, revelation, guidance and glory as your covering is also given to those who give to the poor (Isaiah 58:6- 9)!

Jesus instructed us to serve the least, not the greatest and in so doing to serve Him. He told the rich young ruler (Matthew 19:21) to sell all and give to the poor and then promised him treasure in heaven, not 100 fold here on earth!

Do you want the 100 fold return? Beware! The cost is total and the return comes "with persecutions" (Mark 10:29- 30)!

The tragedy is that most of what is given "to the Lord" in the west is consumed by our leaders and ourselves for our life styles, our buildings and our programs. The further tragedy is that most of the western church is filled with members that are in debt. We serve mammon and reap the fruit of so doing!

Even more tragic is that some Christian leaders in the second and third world follow the example of the "executive apostles" in the west. They live as "kings kids" while their people starve. According to Paul, what distinguished the false from the true apostles was their use of money. Read II Corinthians 11, especially verse 20!

And again, please! This is not some religious poverty mentality! We must be blessed to bless! As John Wesley used to say, "Make all you can, save all you can and give all you can!"

Want to sow into good ground?

Check out www.asiaharvest.org! No, I do not personally know them or have any affiliation with them. This is not about me! They have needs. But their need to receive is not as great as our need to give. The website opens with a letter in defense of the Heavenly Man. The website also presents different areas that you can sow into. For example-

A/ Only $2.25 puts a Bible in the hands of a Chinese believer. It is a tragic perversion of values when churches will "sacrifice" for the latest sound system to entertain themselves when brothers and sisters do not have Bibles! My friends, start to evaluate things you think you need or want in the light of how many Bibles that would buy. Millions of believers are waiting for one! Sow into harvest! Reap harvest!

B/ Through the Living Martyrs Fund you can help support leaders who have been so badly beaten for their testimonies of Jesus that they can no longer work to support themselves or their families. Serve the least - they are the greatest! What are you doing that involves sacrifice? That involves risk?

We have the resources to meet every need! This is the Kingdom of God! The resources are simply not allocated properly. They are locked up in strong holds of non-kingdom thinking and selfishness. For example we have a friend who is taking in street kids in Brazil. The church in Brazil has been petitioning the government to do something about the "scourge of street kids". Our friend told us that if each leader of the body of Christ in Brazil would simply adopt one child all the street children would be cared for! Want to help some kids in Brazil? Check out their website at www.skhb.org. However it is in Dutch so that may be a problem for some of us! Need English? Mail d.zeeders@gmail.com and Danielle will get you pointed in the right direction.

We have the resources to meet every need!

Our thanks and deepest gratitude to those of you who are blessed and moved by Jesus to partner with us financially. Together we are serving some of the greatest. You are sowing into harvest!

Harvest Now!

Steve & Marilyn Hill

 

PS: Our January letter may not have displayed properly due to how different systems display pictures. You can see the letter as intended on our website, www.harvest-now.com.

 

PPSS: Over December we were meditating on the scriptures about 'the one new man made up of Jews and Gentiles" and the present state of Israel. If you are interested in this subject check out a newsletter from Harold Eberle posted on our website under "Resources From Friends." Powerful stuff! Thank you Harold! And help him put some Africans into the harvest fields of that continent!

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