We cannot separate money and ministry. Most of us have heard and love the story of the Good Samaritan. We would all like to be the Good Samaritan that Jesus described. Let’s read carefully the story:
In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have’’’ (Luke 10:30-35 NIV).
A study of the money of this time period reveals that the two coins the Good Samaritan gave to the Inn keeper were enough to pay for keeping him two months at the Inn.(1) Think about how much it would cost us today to keep someone at a hotel for two months with food costs. It would be thousands of dollars. The story of the Good Samaritan is the story of a man who had significant financial means available to him so he could take care of the robbery victim for two months. And it gets better, the Good Samaritan then continued on his journey while this man was cared for by someone he paid to do it. Because he had sufficient resources, he met this person’s need and still was not distracted from the primary purpose of his trip.
I find the Good Samaritan model attractive as I desire to multiply my efforts in expanding the kingdom of God. If I have the resources to pay or support others in ministry like the Good Samaritan did, then it means that my efforts are multiplied. I can accomplish more than just what I do with my personal time and energy.
Or how about when God asked Noah to build the ark? Noah had sufficient resources to obey. There are no scriptures indicating Noah awakened one day and the ark was miraculously finished. There is no record of ravens flying in with pre-cut gopher logs to be fitted into place. The ark was built with manual labor over a period of years, probably by his family or hired laborers. It took significant financial resources for Noah to obey God. Could it be that God wants to provide for us in a similar way? I believe He desires that we have the resources on hand to accomplish His purposes as He reveals them to us.
A similar example is that of Joseph from Arimathea. He was a rich man, a member of the Sanhedrin, who was a disciple of Jesus. Joseph was ready and available when called upon to take Jesus’ body and give it an appropriate burial in a rich man’s tomb that had never been used before. This was significant because in Bible times, tombs were used multiple times. His availability and his financial resources played an important role in the death and resurrection of Jesus and the unfolding of the kingdom of God.
(1) NIV Study Bible Notes, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1985).