Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Meditation for the week of October 8, 2006

2 Corinthians 2:17 For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ.

Last week, I met a young lady at a coffee shop who wants to go into Christian ministry. I asked her if she understood that the Gospel was free and that she shouldn’t charge for it. She said, “You have to, how else can you make your living?” When I pointed out that if we were going to do the Lord’s work we should probably do it His way, she agreed. She then wanted me to give her the Scriptures that convinced me that I shouldn’t charge for the Gospel. She indicated that no one had ever talked to her about this aspect of Christian work.

Paul made tents at times to provide some of his own funds and to set an example for some who didn‘t want to work while they waited for the Lord‘s return (See Acts 18:3, 20:34; and 2nd Thessalonians 3:8-9). But ministries in the New Testament were also supported by individuals and by congregations of Christians that wanted to be partners in this work. In Luke 8:3, certain women are mentioned which helped to support the Lord. Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod’s steward, Suzzana and “many others” are named. In 2 Corinthians 11:7-8, Paul made it clear he never charged the Corinthians for his services. He “robbed” other churches to serve them. Sometimes that is still the case today. Many places that have the ability to help and who benefit from certain ministries, do not have any desire to partner with those doing the work.

We need to teach our children that our giving is to the Lord and that there may be works that the Lord wants us to support besides the congregations with which we are associated. The Lord commends remembering the poor and the widows. He also promised to bless those who remembered Paul personally, even when he was in prison (See Philippians 4: 16-19). But as good stewards we need to know how the ministries that we support handle their money.

Today, many ministries are big business. Ministers live in fancy houses and drive fancy cars and beg for money. They tell their donors that the Lord will bless them by more than returning to them what they have given. Unfortunately, that type of giving is not a gift. That is an investment. While it is true that we reap what we sow and that we are blessed by giving, the Lord never intended for us to give in order to get. He intended for us to give because we want to be “partners” with the Lord and with his workers in this important business of preaching the Gospel freely. The Philippian epistle is really an acknowledgement of a gift that the Philippians had sent to Paul. Paul considered them partners with him and uses the term fellowship in that sense in Philippians 1:5. They didn’t pay him for his services, they participated in his work. This is something that the unsaved should not do, and that is one reason why I personally have never taken a collection when I preach the Gospel.

I do have friends and congregations, however, that through prayerful consideration have decided to partner with me in the work that I do. They have made it possible for these meditations to be made available without a charge. They know that making the Gospel available as a free gift still costs and, out of devotion, they want to be partners in doing the Lord’s work the Lord’s way.

We know that salvation is by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus. We do not DO to receive the gift of salvation. We just trust in the Living God who gave His Son as the sacrifice for our sins. If we have enough confidence in the Lord to save us in this way that doesn’t really make sense to the natural man, it is only reasonable for us to trust that same Lord to support His work in a way that also does not make sense to the natural man.

Bruce Collins

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