There is nothing wrong with earning a profit. We all have the privilege of profiting from our labor. However, when it comes to laboring for the Kingdom of God, there are things we must do for which we should expect no return.
And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals. 16 But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat. 17 And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes. 18 He said, Bring them hither to me. 19 And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. 20 And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full. 21 And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children.
Now, in many churches, it’s customary to sell fish dinners and barbecue dinners to raise money for programs and buildings, but this wasn’t Jesus’ model. Many folks, today, would have sold the miraculous multiplication of food to the folks on the hillside to pay the preacher, then sold the twelve remaining baskets for the building fund!
Here’s one that really gets me – folks who will sell healing, deliverance, or the Word of God, itself for money! How many preachers promise healing in exchange for a “seed offering?” If Peter and John operated as many modern preachers do, they’d have badgered the lame man for a major offering upon his healing. Peter and John exemplify what Jesus demonstrated to them regarding healing; we should emulate this model.
And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple; 3 Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms. 4 And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us. 5 And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them. 6 Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. 7 And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. 8 And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God. 9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God:
Far too many preachers seek to exploit the anointing of God for base gain. In this passage of Scripture, below, “Simon the Sorcerer” sought to obtain the Power of God by the laying of hands so that he could manipulate people. Peter, through the power of the Holy Spirit, saw through Simon’s ruse and rebuked him. It is shameful how many so-called “men and women of God” willingly prey on unsuspecting saints with promises of healing, deliverance, and prosperity in exchange for money. This is a practice that needs to cease, as it is in direct violation of Scripture.
And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles ‘hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, 19 Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. 20 But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. 21 Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.
Then, there are those who will use church as a venue for business. There are many folks who go to church to “network,” passing out business cards and other marketing collateral, hoping to use God’s people as a springboard to increased profits.
And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, 13 And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves. 14 And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them.
Here’s where we miss the point of godly, Biblical prosperity — which is to use your blessing to be a blessing to others. In the first-century church, the disciples of Christ sold their possessions and laid the proceeds at the feet of the Apostles, who in turn, distributed to everyone as they had need — AND NONE HAD LACK! Notice, here, that the people sold their possessions but the Apostles DID NOT make merchandise of their anointing! This is the miracle that happens when giving is done freely and cheerfully:
And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. 33 And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. 34 Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, 35 And laid them down at the apostles ‘feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.
There is no one who will embrace this pattern of giving that will experience lack. The promise of blessing is not “pie-in-the-sky” in the “sweet-by-and-by,” it is “ham-where-I-am” in the “sour-here-and-now!” Notice in the scripture, below, how Jesus assigns a hundred-fold blessing for those who will sacrifice all for the Gospel of the Kingdom:
Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee. 29 And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, 30 But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life. 31 But many that are first shall be last; and the last first.
My dear Friend and Brother, Carlos Howard, has a business motto that resonates with me and provides a fitting close for this message: “Putting the Priority of People Over Profits.” Search for purpose, not profit… find your purpose and profits of all types will follow.
© 2012 – Derrick Day (www.derrickday.com)