Key Word:- CONNECT
Title:- Robbing Churches
Philippians 4:19,20 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.
Living in America exposes you to the largest of multi-media ministries, radio and television being the most expensive with respect to running costs. Though I am thankful to be able to see many godly ‘Word & Spirit’ related ministries on television, costly ministries do have the tendency to keep asking for your money and when you have to ask so consistently for the same thing, you tend to become innovative and in becoming innovative you become ‘edgy’ and such ‘edginess’, has to be justified and such justification, leads to what so many have called, ‘The Gospel of Health and Wealth.’
Involved in church planting, I find that in the early stages you wear every hat imaginable. That of ‘Fund Raiser’ is the one I hate the most. It takes me well outside of my comfort zone and into an high octane, dangerous and strange mixture of bombastic humility. How else can I describe the feelings and functions of a mystic missionary, a visionary but penniless entrepreneur, a righteous robber even? A robber indeed, for Paul in 2 Corinthians 11:7-9, hyperbolically adds this to his sins and vices, when in castigating the Corinthians he says, “Did I commit sin in humbling myself that you might be exalted, because I preached the gospel of God to you free of charge? I robbed other churches, taking wages from them to minister to you.”
It would appear from the scriptures, that is not good to rob God, but it is OK to rob churches! Am I being edgy? I see the red light of danger flashing in the corner of my eye.
Now, I may have related some of the following story previously but let me unpack it a little more. You see, there I was, returning from investigating an area for a possible church plant. A brother had placed $140 in my pocket before leaving home, but I had been so well taken care of by the Pastor I was visiting, that I still had $100 left over. Arriving at the ‘check in’ desk, tired and eager to get home, the lady looked at me quizzically and said, “I’m sorry sir, you are a week early for your flight.” Sure enough there was the date on my ticket. Either a human or technical error had placed me on a return flight, two weeks from my departure and not the one week I had intended. “Listen,” she says “I can transfer you to the flight today but there will be a cost of $100.” I reached into my pocket took out the folded bills and laid them before her. “Let’s do it!”
In times past I have come home from wealthy churches and literally had to pick corn from the adjacent field to my house to feed my family that day. I have gotten up in the morning and had ‘apple sauce’ for breakfast with my children for it was all we had in the cupboard. That day though, I had $100 dollars. A prepared payment for a tired traveller. The spiritual journey of the Christian traveller is also a strange financial roller coaster as well. At times, it is unfathomable. This spiritual journey of ours will contain both abasing and abounding! Now there's a sermon title....Be prepered for both!
Listen:- I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:12-13
Pray :- “Lord, neither fullness nor want is a sign of Your blessing O God. Yet I tell You dear Father, that if Your manifest presence is not with me, if I am not aware of Your 'stickable' faithfulness, then truly, I am a pauper amongst the princes of this world. Lord, in all my gifts, in all my presents, let me know Your presence today. In Jesus name, amen.