[x_custom_headline type=”left” level=”h4″ looks_like=”h4″]It seems that very few people really grasp the full impact that money makes on a ministry, as well as on the minister. As a case in point, when was the last time you woke up on a Monday morning wondering if the tithes and offerings received at your church on Sunday were sufficient to fulfill all of the financial obligations, as well as the ministry assignments of your local church for that week? Maybe some people do, but my experience is that almost no one does, including those in leadership positions.[/x_custom_headline]
I am just short of forty years in the ministry, and in all of that time I have yet to have been contacted by a single member of my church to ask me whether or not we received enough money to take care of everything for the week, and if not, what they could personally do about it. That has just never happened to me.
However, as the pastor, I am expected to personally find a way to cover for any and all shortages, even though they are always the result of someone else’s disobedience to God in their tithes and offerings. But what people fail to realize is the negative impact that has on ministry, when the pastor’s focus is solely on getting enough finances for the church.
Did you know that the Apostle Paul had the same thing happen in his ministry? And when this occurred in Paul’s life, he was by no means a beginner but was a seasoned veteran in the ministry. We find this story in Acts chapter eighteen.
[x_blockquote cite=”Acts 18:1-3 KJV” type=”left”]“After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth; 2 And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them. 3 And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers.”[/x_blockquote]
At this time Claudius was the Roman Emperor. He had become upset with all of the Jews, and he commanded them to leave the city of Rome. So among the Jews driven from Rome were Aquila and Priscilla, who were prosperous tent makers.
By the time Paul arrives in Corinth, Silas and Timothy and the rest of his company had not yet caught up to him. And what we see from this passage is that it is obvious that Paul had run out of money. Why else would he have taken a job making tents again?
Yet as we have seen, Aquila and Priscilla had moved to Corinth and started a tent making business and were prospering in it. And because Paul was out of money, he went to work for Aquila and Priscilla making tents. However, because he was working making tents six days a week, he was limited in his ministry time to one day a week, where he would go to the synagogue and minister.
[x_blockquote cite=”Acts 18:4-5 KJV” type=”left”]“4 And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks. 5 And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ.”[/x_blockquote]
When Silas and Timothy and the rest of Paul’s company arrived in Corinth, they came with an offering from the Christians in Macedonia. And this changed everything. Because now we see that where Paul had been pressured by financial shortage, when the money arrived he felt the pressure to get the Word of God preached instead.
The phrase, “Pressed in the spirit” could also be stated, “pressured in his spirit to get the Word preached.” Before the offering came, Paul was pressured by finances. That pressure limited his ministry and his influence. However, once an abundant offering came, Paul was no longer pressured by finances, he felt a different kind of pressure to get the Word preached.
When a man of God is living under financial pressure, it limits his ability to effectively minister the Word and minister to God’s people.
When there is financial pressure and the bills are staring the man of God in the face, it’s very difficult to focus on the ministry assignments when he knows there is not enough money to accomplish them. However, when he has enough money, it takes the pressure off so that he is freed up to think of ways to be effective in ministering the gospel to others.
This is why prosperity is so very vital. When you are prosperous you are not focused on survival but on effective ministry.
Before the offering came, Paul was limited in his ability to preach and could only do so once per week. But after the offering came, he could now preach the Word seven days a week, and not have his ministry time limited by his work schedule.
Do everything you can with your faith, your prayers, and your acts of obedience in tithes and offerings to make sure that your pastor is only facing the pressure of getting the gospel out, and not the pressure of survival that financial shortage brings. Money is going to make a huge impact on the church you attend in one way or the other. So do your part to make sure that the impact money is making on the ministry you are involved with is a positive one.