This is one article I do not want to write. It deeply challenges my own heart; but it must be written. Over the years in doing ministry and mission work, we have observed that the desire for money and possessions is a great hindrance to the work of God. You may ask why? It becomes a distraction from abandoned love for God and weakens our sensitivity to the Holy Spirit, personally and in the body of Christ.
Let me give you a few examples that will help make this clear:
Gehazi, Elisha’s servant, was struck with Naaman’s leprosy because he coveted the money offered to Elisha which Elisha refused (2 Kings 5:15-27). His actions were a direct violation of the free gift of healing grace given by God through Elisha. Personal worldly gain and the gospel do not mix.
Ananias and Sapphira dropped dead because they lied to the Holy Spirit about money received from selling property (Acts 5:1-11). This was a direct violation of the pure gospel and its powerful work in the early church. All mission and ministry efforts must exalt Christ and the gospel, not men.
Paul makes it clear that “those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction” (1 Timothy 6:9). In all three passages, money became destructive to the individual and hindered the work of God.
This is why we insist that the most effective way to promote, establish, strengthen and expand God’s work is through a self-sustaining, self-supporting indigenous work of the Holy Spirit that is not dependent on outside money, buildings or education. The true work of the Holy Spirit will make love for Christ and His word supreme. John Piper says that “we scorn the infinite worth of God when we covet” which Paul calls “idolatry…on account of these the wrath of God is coming” (Colossians 3:5-6). What will you and I treasure more highly; money or the work of God by grace?
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