Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Paying For It

There are several passages in the bible that gave me reason to furrow my brow and ponder for great length. Some of the verses gave more freedom then thought was allowed while others caused fear making me even more aware of who God is. Yet for this particular entry, the verse about buying the truth and selling it not made for an interesting topic when I called an evangelist that was accepting questions for his radio program (Proverbs 23:23 AMP). He chuckled knowing that it was a stalling tactic he was using so his assistant could either pull the verse up on the computer or come up with a viable answer to my question.

You see he, as with many others from ministry, have received a variety of gifts from the Lord. These gifts are for the perfecting of the saints (Ephesians 4:11-13 AMP). We are to be strengthened so that we can continue with what we are called to do. So why have some of us used these gifts for our own livelihood (1 Corinthians 2:14 AMP)? When did God give approval for that seeing that He would not go back on His Word?

The evangelist chuckled again and tried to make me feel ridiculous for asking the question. His reasoning was that how I was stating the question wasn't plausible because there wouldn't be so many versions of the bible and other books from those in ministry - including his. What he was avoiding was his own accountability. Just because everyone is doing it doesn't make it right. Everyone used to sing and preach climbing up the rough side of a mountain until some of us decided to read the bible for ourselves and found that hymnal to be a fallacy (Mark 11:23 AMP). In all, there was a whole heap of words being said by him and my question wasn't sufficiently answered (Colossians 4:6 AMP).

Since then, I have heard a sermon preached about the poor widow with 1 son. She was going to make her last meal so she and her son could die. Elijah came to the woman's home and told her to make the food  for him. He ate and told her what to do in order for her to have the finances she needed for the both of them to not only to survive but thrive (1 Kings 17:8-24 AMP). The sermon answered my question, yet I wondered why the ministers didn't use that passage so not to go against what God gave them to do?

Notice when the church is in "the red", it becomes the congregation's problem. There has to be bake sales, dinner sales, car washes and the like so that the bills can be paid. My question is, what were the tithes and offerings used for? When the DVD's and CD's of the sermons were being sold, what was that money used for? Why when the members of the church have volunteered to do everything else, that there happens to be so much more to do? I know the answer to that is going to be made simple as if the pastor was supposed to receive an income from what was given. Then the ministers get their portion and the worker's that come throughout the week must also be paid; otherwise, why would they do it? Now what to do with the bills and everything else? This sort of reasoning has been going on for years and it answers why there are so many conventions, revivals, and various speakers asked from all over the country to come and speak. Does it revive the "spirit" or rejuvenate more income? Is the incentive to teach the Word to all of the land or the "love offering" after the TRUTH has been preached?

A pastor spoke to a room full of believers. He said that he was a guest speaker and had preached the Word about prospering in Christ. At the end, he saw the congregation come to give a love offering above and beyond their usual giving. Some tried to give the guest pastor the money in his hand but was intercepted by the ushers to put it in the basket along with everyone else. The baskets were gathered and were all overflowing with cash. The ushers took the baskets in the back for those who are assigned to count the monies. At the end of the service, the pastor was handed an envelope from one of the head ushers. He then made a grand gesture before the congregation and gave the envelope to the guest pastor that came all that way to speak. The guest pastor graciously received the envelope, as he told us, thanked the members of that ministry and returned to his seat. Off to the side, he looked in it to see $50.00. Those of us that were listening to him gasped including me but then I thought, which is worse? The pastor that was controlling the money to keep for whatever he chose or the guest pastor for telling us what he thought was as appalling. What is the incentive?

I thought about this when a minister said something that was so poignant. He said being a minister was something that he does because he believed God called him to ministry. But it is not how he makes his income. He then divulged what he does as a career. He said that his other colleagues have other jobs as well. This, I didn't know and had all the more respect for them because of it. However, as time rolled on, I later learned he sold his business and became a full time minister. He received a paycheck and soon many of the other ministers did as well (Ephesians 4:28 AMP). Was that God's intention or was there so much money it had to be shared rather then being used for the perfecting of the saints?

Is there a better way? You see in the complete passage, the Word says to "buy the truth and sell it not; not only that but also get discernment and judgment, instruction and understanding." So if this way was received of the Lord, then the church should never be in "the red" - right? It is written, "... never hath the righteous been forsaken nor his seed beg for bread (Psalm 37:25 KJV)." What if the tithes and offerings were used to pay for the building where the services are conducted and if any remainder to be used for giving to those that are without. Why not save money to purchase cars for those that really need them or pay off the tuition for a member or members that have been diligent in good works? Why not assist a few members in paying their household bills, or purchasing new appliances for those in need? Why aren't the ministers put on a schedule so that they can have jobs outside of the ministry and the rotation is for all of the ministers to use so that the congregation is given free time for their families? When it is done like this, there is no burn out and the people can be appreciated while the Word is going forth without anyone being stressed not having enough money to purchase it!

I never understood the purpose for the telethons on the Christian networks that broadcast the Word of God. Would not God provide for his Word? Is it necessary to pre-empt the regular programming for believers only to see their beloved ministers begging on the air for people to give even more then what they already have? When will the ministers decide that the money they receive belongs to God and they give it back to the church for the perfecting of the saints? A pastor said that he doesn't designate how much he should receive as a paycheck. There is a board that makes that determination. He then said that "the board" told him because of the offices he holds as a pastor, teacher, and administrator, that he should be paid for all of those positions. If he agreed to it, that's one thing. If he accepted the 3 paychecks for the one position as a pastor because its what a pastor does, that's another thing. But if he took those 3 paychecks and cashed them in for himself - that's something else! Is the love of God there?

This particular blog serves to answer the believer's question, "is this all there is?" or "why has my life turned out this way when I have been obedient?" For those in the ministry, I hope your question has been answered. Pastors, preachers, and evangelists should know better after all, they are teaching and feeding God's people - right? So why are they living in lavish homes and driving luxury vehicles when the ones they are preaching to, aren't? What happened to feeding God's sheep so that we are all on one accord (Ephesians 4:13-17 AMP)? What happened to the perfecting of the saints? Shouldn't we all be as mature as God has called us all to be? After all, we are all one body - right?

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