The Matter of Giving – Part 1
“I have not coveted anyone’s silver or clothing.” (Acts 20:33 NIV)
The Apostle Paul had stopped in the seaport city of Miletus en route to Jerusalem, and from there he sent for the elders of the church in Ephesus in order to bid them farewell and commit them to God, as he was never going to see them again. It must have been the most important counsel he could give to the elders of a church he had founded and that he loved, as they would be the last words he would be speaking to them in person. As part of his exhortation, he committed them to God and, in closing, mentioned to them that he had not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing, but rather, that he had supplied his own needs during the three years he had been with the church in Ephesus. In essence, he was saying, “I wasn’t after your money. What I wanted was your spiritual growth.”
That’s a lesson for all of us. Yes, we need teaching on tithing in the church and the giving of offerings to help those in need, but when a minister talks only about money and that you have to send it to him, we have to be careful. That is not in keeping with ministry in the New Testament. Turn on Christian television, and there is a lot of encouraging programming; but some of it can be depressing. How can anyone preach week after week after week, all about money, with no mention of the cross, the blood of Christ, that you have to be born again, “the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13), that Jesus is coming again, that “if we suffer, we shall also reign with him” (2 Timothy 2:12)? There are a lot of subjects in the Bible. How could a person talk only about money? And that the only way the people will be blessed is if they send the money, not to a missionary or a local church, but to the person making the pitch on television?
To be continued…
Read Acts 20:25-33.