God's Truth In Love

Gifts and Money

In Advice, Bible, Biblical Principles, Chrisitan Lifestyle, Christian, Christian Living, Christianity, Encouragement, Exhortation, God, God's Voice, Godliness, Godly Counsel, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Prophet, Prophetess, Rhema Words, Truth, Uncategorized on April 19, 2014 at 4:45 pm

Question Summary:

Is it right for pastors, leaders, ministers and bishops to take gifts and money this is given directly to them?

Reply:

The person who posed this question did not provide many details to work with and this is a topic that can be very hard to discern without a good bit of information. Therefore, the best I can do is show examples of what is godly and righteous and what is ungodly and unrighteous in the arena.

In the end, it comes down to the motive of the giver and the receiver. If people are trying to manipulate people into giving them money and gifts, then it is ungodly. If people are giving money and gifts in order to gain favor or be able to have influence, then it is ungodly. However, it is not ungodly for people to give or receive money and/or gifts in every circumstance.

I have seen, experienced, and heard, from reliable sources, numerous and various situations in the arena of money and gifts, some that were godly and some of which were ungodly. Both extremes exist out there.

On one end, I have seen pastors bleed dry and manipulate their congregations for money through the use of reciting chants (the repetition of a word or phrase for the purpose of brainwashing); while he showed off his Rolex watch to those people he considered leaders. On the other end of the spectrum, spiritual leaders have given some people hours and hours of their time over the course of a long period and never received anything from those people for their efforts, not money, not gifts, not even a meal or cup of coffee bought for them. I have seen all kinds of scenario in-between the two extremes as well.

Real life examples of less than godly scenarios. Amassing wealth and materials on the backs of your struggling congregation, like buying Rolex watches while most of your congregation struggles financially. Browbeating your congregation viciously over a $400.00 monthly shortfall in the budget while you and your spouse drive to church in fairly new Sport Cadillac and a Cadillac Escalade. Working for a non-profit organization while driving the company car, a Jaguar. Going out into the woods and building a mansion with money from the church coffers. Spiritual leaders moaning to people about the things they need in the hopes that the people, or some individual, will buy what they want for them. Trying to manipulate people into buying you things you want by making sure they know you want them, on purpose. Buying big houses and driving Lexus cars while you refuse to counsel Believers in need because they cannot afford your $100.00 an hour fee.

One has to keep in mind that the hunger and thirst that people have for money comes from greed and a poor mentality. The fear of being without, of being poor, drives people to hunger for money. It does not seem to matter if they have ever been poor or not. Their worth is tied up in what and how much they have. The “love” of money, or the things money will buy, causes people to act in the ways described above. 1 Timothy 6:10 (NKJV) “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” Inside themselves, their value is nothing because their value is based on what is on the outside. What is on the outside will always decay (looks, health, physical ability) or could easily be taken away (money, home, possessions) in a moment. Most individuals who act like the people described above usually end up in very bad situations. If you doubt this truth, watch them over the course of a lifetime. They rise and they fall.

Real life examples of where leaders acted in a godly manner, which might have resulted in either their detriment or good. Spiritual leaders struggling to make ends meet while they serve people who never give them anything, neither in money or gifts. I have seen spiritual leaders starved out of the ministry, literally. Their congregation was stingy with money and/or gifts and supplies that they could not afford to live, they were literally going hungry at times, because they did not have enough money. They had to return to secular work. I have seen spiritual leaders given vehicles they needed but could not buy without going into debt. I have seen spiritual leaders given to hospitality, leaders who hosted people in their home continually, cooking for them regularly, have a new dual oven bought for them as a gift in thanks. Women leaders treated to clothes and shoes by those they served, so they could look nice. Men and women leaders alike given watches, Bibles, supplies, computers, etc. all to aid them in their ministry work.

Before anyone determines that I am for or that I am against giving either money or gifts; I will share some personal examples that will help you discern my views more accurately.

Years ago when I first starting out in the ministry I was one of the churches co-pastors and I was teaching my first Bible Study course. At the beginning of each session we spent time just chatting with one another before we would start. During one of the first few sessions, I was talking about how my spouse loved espresso and that perhaps I would buy my spouse an espresso machine. The next week before class started someone walked up and gave me an espresso machine they had owned for several years but only used a couple of times. Did I take the machine? You bet I did and my spouse enjoyed it for years.

I received that machine before I ever even received my first paycheck in the ministry. That machine was my first compensation for ministry and to this day, it sits on a bookcase shelf in my study.

The person who gave me the espresso machine was so blessed by giving that machine to me and it made them so happy. I was so blessed that someone cared enough to listen to a casual conversation and meet my need, or more aptly my desire, in life. It made for a beautiful start in ministry.  Therefore, under the right circumstances I have no issue with giving spiritual leaders gifts.

I do believe in giving money to spiritual leaders, and others, either directly or indirectly. Let me explain. I do not share this often but here I believe it can serve a godly purpose.

My spouse and I very much believe in giving, so much so that we give 55% of all sources of our total revenue and income to the work of Kingdom of God. We live in the neighborhood that makes that possible. We bought a house that makes that possible. We drive the cars that make that possible. You get the point.

We do believe in giving indirectly and anonymously whenever possible. This is not always possible however thus giving directly at times does have to take place. We also believe that giving does not have to be done only to churches, ministries, or spiritual leaders it can be given to any work or effort that will glorify God.

As Believers we do have a responsibility before God to give our money wisely but with that said if God leads me to walk up to a stranger and hand them $100.00 I am going to do so. If God leads me to buy a strangers gas or meal, I am going to do so. Anywhere God tells me to put His money is where the money need to be. What we will not do is use that money to buy influence with a church, group, or a person, which is why giving anonymously in cash is so important to us.

My spouse and I also will not give money to God then deduct it on our taxes thus getting our money returned to us in another form. If it is going to be given to the work of the Kingdom of God, it is going to be fully given without looking for a refund of said money later.

Give and give freely, directly or indirectly, to your pastors, spiritual leaders, ministers and bishops. Give them either money, give them gifts, give them serves, or give them all of these things. However, to whomever you give just do so wisely and under the guidance and direction of God. It is not a one size fits all answer of whether it is wrong or right for spiritual leaders to take money, gifts, or serves; it is something that must be determined in each circumstance, every time, considering all the people involved and their motives. What is okay with God for you to do today might not be okay with God next month or next year. We always seek Him in all things.

Proverbs 3:5–6 (NKJV)

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart,

And lean not on your own understanding;

6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,

And He shall direct your paths.

 

Regarding worldviews:

Secular sources – self-help, advice, mass media – some of these resources can be useful in obtaining knowledge about what is going on in our world but they are not credible sources for a Believer when it comes to establishing beliefs, opinions, and directives for life. The gap between the two foundational platforms (biblical vs. secular) is too vast at this point in our present day society to bring reconciliation between the two. A Believer should seek out Christian lifestyle training, godly counsel, and Christian forms of mass media using those to shape their approach to life.

 

Spiritual/Political Disclaimer:

This blog will not be for the faint of heart or the easily offended. It will not be in any way politically correct. It will make every effort to share the truth in love, [Ephesians 4:11-16], to a decaying and dying society and church. I share what I share not to hurt, harm, or offend any person[s] or group; I do it because Christ’s Standard and Truth is not being represented by enough of His Followers and I do it out of love. I love enough to tell His Truth.

Ephesians 4:11-16 NKJV

11And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

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