To rightly divide the word you have to see the whole blueprint of the Lord’s heart on a matter throughout the entire bible not just one instance.
To base a doctrine around one scripture without bringing that line of thought from other passages of scripture throughout the bible is how we can have error and also an unbalanced word.
So let’s have a look at a certain topic today, that of late, I believe is being presented with incorrect interpretation. The Lord is breathing on this topic and is purifying past times where men have extorted this topic. What we need to know is when the Lord begins to purify something, many are sensing the change of wineskin, but then throw the baby out with the bath water and change sound doctrine.
It is true some leaders in the past have manipulated scriptures for self fulfilling motives and the Lord’s justice is coming on that in this hour. But in that happening there are many trying to voice their thoughts on topics with emotion rather than scriptural soundness. And this is leading many into error because it’s hitting emotional humanistic reasoning rather than scriptural sound doctrine.
Which leads me to the topic I believe the Lord has led me to address that seems to be hot at the moment.
TO EXPECT SOMETHING FOR FREE IS NOT SCRIPTUAL
Now I didn’t say to receive something for free is not scriptural, I’m saying to expect it.
I know I’m going to ruffle some entitlement and socialistic feathers here but I encourage you to read until the end and allow me to walk you through scripture so you may see the heart and mind of God on this topic that is revealed over and over and over again throughout his word.
Let’s begin with the scripture everyone bases their doctrine around.
FREELY AS YOU HAVE RECEIVED FREELY GIVE
“And as you go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand! Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, drive out demons. Freely (without pay) you have received, freely (without charge) give. Take no gold nor silver nor [even] copper money in your purses (belts); And do not take a provision bag or a wallet for a collection bag for your journey, nor two undergarments, nor sandals, nor a staff; for the workman deserves his support (his living, his food).”
Matthew 10:7-10 AMPC
So verse 8 is speaking of what you have received freely, to freely give, that is, the power of God. We have received power to heal, to deliver, to raise the dead. The gifts of the spirit are not to be charged for. In other words, charging for healings, deliverances and prophesies etc. is wrong.
Let’s continue though in this scripture. Many stop there but let’s see what it says further down in context.
The disciples are then instructed not to take with them provisions, extra clothes etc why? The reason for this instruction is found in verse 10.
“The labourer or workman deserves his support”. Other translations say, the labourer is worthy of his hire.
The Lord is not saying (like many try to portray) that you should not expect to receive provisions in exchange for your labour. But rather the opposite. He is saying those you minister to are RESPONSIBLE for providing your clothing, food and housing. After all isn’t that what a wage provides?
Now let’s see some more New Testament scripture.
1 Corinthians 9: 7-14
“[Consider this:] What soldier at any time serves at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat any of the fruit of it? Who tends a flock and does not partake of the milk of the flock? Do I say this only on human authority and as a man reasons? Does not the Law endorse the same principle?
For in the Law of Moses it is written, You shall not muzzle an ox when it is treading out the corn. Is it [only] for oxen that God cares? [Deut. 25:4.] Or does He speak certainly and entirely for our sakes? [Assuredly] it is written for our sakes, because the plowman ought to plow in hope, and the thresher ought to thresh in expectation of partaking of the harvest.
If we have sown [the seed of] spiritual good among you, [is it too] much if we reap from your material benefits? If others share in this rightful claim upon you, do not we [have a still better and greater claim]? However, we have never exercised this right, but we endure everything rather than put a hindrance in the way [of the spread] of the good news (the Gospel) of Christ. Do you not know that those men who are employed in the services of the temple get their food from the temple? And that those who tend the altar share with the altar [in the offerings brought]? [Deut. 18:1.] [On the same principle] the Lord directed that those who publish the good news (the Gospel) should live (get their maintenance) by the Gospel.”
1 Corinthians 9:7-14 AMPC
Paul is saying very clearly here that those who preach the gospel should live by the gospel. That those who served in the temple (yes the priests who “worshipped” the Lord ) were to receive their portion.
He states that if he sowed spiritual food among them was it too much to ask to reap from their material benefits.
He claimed that he didn’t exercise that right with the Corinthians though, because of the hardness and pride of their heart as he didn’t want them to glory in being his provision.
He only operated like this with the Corinthians. Not with other churches. To the Philippians he talks about their generous giving and partnership to his ministry.
God is not a rip off merchant and does not expect his servants to labour for free. He said the priests in his temple working for his service were worthy of a share in the offerings of the people.
It is not right to labour without hope.
It is dishonour to the service of the ministry and the Lord and sit in a meeting and receive from a servant of the Lord and not give. You are muzzling the ox. It’s like the 9 lepers who received their healing and didn’t even say thank you.
We can’t play the I am poor and I can’t afford it card. The woman with the two mites didn’t have an entitlement mentality. She came to the temple and gave. She saw the servant of Abba and gave from her heart.
Most people hide behind this convenient thought that well God said as you have freely received you need to freely give to me, but they have no clue of the price that servant has paid to bring and serve what they freely received. To actually be faithful over and over and over again, to walk through warfare and storms and battles to serve God’s people and to continue to “offer” and to actually stay positioned and be repositioned to pour out what they have “freely received” most times cost them their life.
In fact Paul actually says that the ministry is worthy of double honour and he’s talking financial provision. Again referring to not muzzle the ox.
1 Timothy 5:17-18
“Let the elders who perform the duties of their office well be considered doubly worthy of honor [and of adequate financial support], especially those who labor faithfully in preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, You shall not muzzle an ox when it is treading out the grain, and again, The laborer is worthy of his hire.
Now I am aware that there is greed in the church and there are those who are hirelings in the sense their heart is not right and is not for the sheep but rather how ministry benefits themselves. I get it… Paul even addressed this. But even though Paul addressed extortion it didn’t stop him from addressing true biblical honour. And it didn’t stop him from telling the Corinthians straight that it was right that he should receive from them.
Let’s look at the building of the tabernacle of Moses, David and Solomon. Those craftsmen were paid. They were creatives who were skilled at jewellery work, art, sewing and goldsmiths and the list goes on.
There is this wrong mindset in the church that anyone who uses their God-given talent for the Lord is not worthy to receive monetary benefit.
What’s the difference between a Christian businessman funding the kingdom and a psalmist or painter or actor? All are talents given by God to bless the kingdom. Why do we separate them?
Now we know that a large proportion of the local church is run by volunteers each week. They have their jobs or careers through the week and come and volunteer to serve in the house. This is giving. This is honouring the Lord. This is right as in every home each family member contributes to serving each other without expecting payment. I mean it would be ridiculous for my son Judah to expect to be paid every time he took the rubbish out or unloaded the dishwasher or made his own bed. These are things he should do to contribute to his family.
What I’m talking about are those who do service to the Lord as a living, or use their God given talent in a reproducible way. I.e, songwriting, music, art, literature, acting, media etc.
I wouldn’t dream of admiring a prophetic artists painting and expect that they should give that away for free. That is dishonouring the gift and call on their life.
I am happy to buy a Christian worship album so that the producers and skilled musicians and psalmists and songwriters and technicians are not muzzled. That is their God-given talent to serve the Lord and also feed themselves. Our skills and talents is where our provision should come from. Or do we have the mentality well you go flog yourself in some menial job all week to earn a wage because God forbid you would receive monetary benefit from something you have that blesses God’s people. This thinking is madness.
The bible says to give honour where honour is due.
Now if someone chooses to sow it into my life then that is different. But how can something have value of a seed if it is worthless to begin with?
Dishonour is one of the major problems in the body of Christ today. We have become entitled and self-absorbed.
We are afraid of offending people instead of teaching them true honour. In many congregations leaders view taking up offerings as a shame. Well I say SHAME ON YOU for dishonouring the altar and refraining the people from giving of their material substance. Can you imagine in the Old Testament the priests doing this? In fact Malachi 3 God addresses them as thieves. To deny the people to give and make it a shame, is dishonouring the gift and the vessel of God and withholding the opportunity for the people to honour the servant by giving.
When I travel many of those who host me ask this question “do you charge a fee”? I’m like NO I don’t charge a fee, but I do ask that the people I minister to are given the opportunity to sow.
Have I ministered before and not received anything? YES!!! More times than I can count. Will people do the wrong thing by you? YES they will! It is all a heart attitude. If people expect a minister to minister for free then they are dishonouring God.
Again I am very aware of those who have extorted this principle in the church. But this is not what this is about. It is about the fact that God is not a man who muzzles an ox. To have that mindset is not a Godly mindset, it’s coming from a poverty mentality or an entitlement attitude.
Yes God is purifying the message … as He is purifying many things. But just because He is purifying it doesn’t mean He is deleting it.
Remember He cannot do without a cheerful prompt to do it giver who’s heart in his / her giving.
“[Remember] this: he who sows sparingly and grudgingly will also reap sparingly and grudgingly, and he who sows generously [that blessings may come to someone] will also reap generously and with blessings. Let each one [give] as he has made up his own mind and purposed in his heart, not reluctantly or sorrowfully or under compulsion, for God loves (He takes pleasure in, prizes above other things, and is unwilling to abandon or to do without) a cheerful (joyous, “prompt to do it”) giver [whose heart is in his giving].
2 Corinthians 9:6-7
Signed a very cheerful giver.