“You received without paying; give without pay. Acquire no gold or silver or copper for your belts, no bag for your journey, or two tunics or sandals or a staff, for the laborer deserves his food.
(Matthew 10:8b-10 ESV)
Today we continue reading the instructions Jesus gave the twelve apostles before sending them out on their first evangelistic mission. Jesus, the consummate leader, ensures that His underlings know exactly what they are supposed to do.
One of the things they are to do is not expect any payment for their services. Just as they received the gospel from Jesus without paying they are to give it to others just as freely. There were not to withhold the vital information of the gospel or refuse to heal someone in exchange for payment.
Anyone who could heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, and cast out demons could certainly make a lot of money from those who desperately needing such services. But Jesus commands the apostles to use the miraculous power given to them from God for His glory, not their own prosperity.
Back then there was no shortage of people who claimed to be able to do these very things. Just ask the woman we recently read about who suffered from a bleeding disorder for twelve years. She had spent every penny she had trying to find someone who could cure her. But no one did [Mark 5:25-26]. No doubt many of those she consulted were frauds who preyed on her desperation.
Those who spend their lives serving God, such as our modern-day pastors, are not to sell their services to the highest bidder. While they are allowed to accept financial support from those they teach, they are not to be motivated by money. It is their responsibility to teach. It is the people’s responsibility to support them [1 Peter 5:2; Titus 1:7; Galatians 6:6].
This is one way we can identify false teachers. If someone claims to serve God but is motivated by financial gain, they are likely not really a true teacher.
Instead of demanding money a true godly teacher trusts in God to supply all his needs [Philippians 4:19]. To that end, Jesus tells His apostles not to acquire gold or silver or copper (i.e. money) before their trip. That is, they were not to fundraise. Nor were they to bring an extra tunic or sandals or staff. God would meet their needs through divinely-inspired hospitality along the way.
No one who teaches God’s word – such a pastor or someone who writes a blog – should do so with the intent of making a living. They should do so simply because they love God and want others to learn about Him. Support, if any, will come from God through others.
Notice that Jesus reminds these men that they are laborers. They would be serving Christ by serving others. But while the apostles were going to be teaching others, they themselves would be taught a lesson in how to trust God.
The most important information in the world – how to avoid hell and make it to heaven – is not for sale. It is freely given by God.
Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post.