Faith versus money
The word was out. A particular prison was highly successful in bringing inmates to Christ. An investigation was made, to find which prison ministry was responsible. After months of inquiry, they found out the prison ministry itself was wondering what was happening. At the end of the investigation they discovered that it was the warden who was responsible for turning the prisoners around. The warden was a man who feared God. He shared the gospel with his inmates and even prayed for them and with them.
Immediately, a Christian radio station arranged for an interview. The man shared his testimony giving Christ the glory for his success in turning these men around. When asked about a budget and planning. The warden almost exploded, “What are you talking about? Budget? Planning? Do you realize that budget is the biggest excuse people give to not do the work God is convicting them of. Budgets are also the excuse to do work we have no business doing. We do not have a budget. We have the word of God and the power of the Holy Spirit.” Speechless, the interviewer sheepishly went to a break.
What does God’s work need to go forward: money or the Holy Spirit? In today’s world all things require money. Even, church activities and programs run because there is money; hence, the need to always ask for money in our services. The dependence on money has replaced our dependence on the Holy Spirit. Time spent praying is now spent developing ways to acquire funds and planning activities and programs. Faith is replaced with either doubt or presumption.
There is no wonder the author of the lesson asks the questions, “How should we understand this saying? (Sell what you have and give it to the poor Luke 18:22,.) Was Jesus advocating a redistribution of wealth for all Christians in all times and places? What practical problems would arise if we literally carried out His injunction? Take any given community, in which all Christians have sold all their property and given the proceeds to the poor, what now is the economic status of those Christians? How do they support themselves and their own families? And how do they now get the means to carry forward the rest of Jesus' mission-to take the Gospel to new frontiers, for example?.”
The answer to that clearly is that if we live by faith as those in apostolic times did, we would not worry about money. As Christ told the disciples in Matthew 6:31-34,
Matthew 6: 31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
Matthew 6: 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
Matthew 6: 33 But seek ye first the
Matthew 6: 34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
In their case God provided through others. They learned to live by faith. God spoke; they listened and believed His promises. They trusted that God would provide. They lived by the definition of faith that says, “Faith is the expecting the word of God to do what it says and the depending upon that word to do what it says.”
On some occasions living by faith meant for the brother or sister to work for money. Notice Paul,
David concluded in Psalms 20 that “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.” (Psalm 20:7 NIV). Zechariah reached a similar conclusion,
“So he said to me, "This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: 'Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says the LORD Almighty” (Zechariah 4:6). Many trust in things this they have or have acquired. But, those who truly love God will trust Him.