"Not to be critical," she said "but I'm just curious about charging a fee to pass along how you've learned to trust God. I mean, I just don't understand putting a price on God's work because EVERYTHING He did was free."
What a way to start a blog, eh?
I've contemplated the #bloglife for a while.
After all, I have always loved to talk (insert shrug). Even got checks on every report card growing up because little Rachael Lynn didn't know how to stay silent (insert shrug number two).
I'd like to believe that I've allowed God to mold me over the years and that I've matured and (mostly) learned when to hold my tongue and when to speak up, although my husband might disagree...but this subject is one that I strongly feel needs addressing
I want to preface this by saying that I truly believe the woman who sent me this message was honestly trying to be respectful in asking the question. I don't blame her for asking. I'm not upset with her for asking. My sole purpose in creating a blog post about the topic is because I'm certain many more people are thinking what she was bold enough to say and they too deserve an answer.
Too often, Christians are expected to do everything in "ministry" without compensation, otherwise they're deemed as "money hungry."
Why is that?
I believe this mindset is rooted in the belief that, like this woman stated in her question to me, "EVERYTHING God did was free" so why shouldn't we give everything away for free too?
Well, friends, the problem is that God didn't do everything for free.
Everything God did for his children required an exchange of some sort; a "currency" if you will.
[ kur-uh n-see, kuhr- ]noun, plural cur·ren·cies.
something that is used as a medium of exchange
Don't believe me? Let's explore scripture:
Mark 5:25-34 "And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?” And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’” And he looked around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”
Notice, it was her faith, not just Jesus' power, that made her well. She released her faith and, in exchange, received her miracle!
In Mark 10:46-52 we see a similar story with a blind beggar named Bartimaeus. "As Jesus was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart. Get up; he is calling you.” And throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.” And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way.
Again, we see that he gave his faith and Jesus provided the miracle. There was an exchange.
"But Jesus didn't ask for their faith," one might argue. No, not in these instances because the faith was already there, but let's look at another instance where it wasn't:
In Mark 9:17-29 we see this story about a Father whose son had been tormented by a demonic spirit since childhood. "Someone from the crowd responded, “Teacher, I brought my son to you, since he has a spirit that doesn’t allow him to speak. Wherever it overpowers him, it throws him into a fit. He foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and stiffens up. So I spoke to your disciples to see if they could throw it out, but they couldn’t.” Jesus answered them, “You faithless generation, how long will I be with you? How long will I put up with you? Bring him to me.” They brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a fit. He fell on the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth. Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been going on?” He said, “Since he was a child. It has often thrown him into a fire or into water trying to kill him. If you can do anything, help us! Show us compassion!” Jesus said to him, “‘If you can do anything’? All things are possible for the one who has faith.” At that the boy’s father cried out, “I have faith; help my lack of faith!” Noticing that the crowd had surged together, Jesus spoke harshly to the unclean spirit, “Mute and deaf spirit, I command you to come out of him and never enter him again.” After screaming and shaking the boy horribly, the spirit came out. The boy seemed to be dead; in fact, several people said that he had died. But Jesus took his hand, lifted him up, and he arose. After Jesus went into a house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we throw this spirit out?” Jesus answered, “Throwing this kind of spirit out requires prayer.”
Here we clearly see Jesus calling this father up to a higher level of faith and belief and again, we see an exchange take place once his faith arises.
Faith is a currency in Heaven; a means of exchange between Heaven and Earth.
Hebrews 11:6 says "And without faith living within us it would be impossible to please God. For we come to God in faith knowing that he is real and that he rewards the faith of those who give all their passion and strength into seeking him."
[ ri-wawrd ]noun: something given or received in return or recompense for service, merit, hardship, etc.
What about your salvation? Did you freely get your salvation or did you have to give something in exchange for it?
Romans 10:9-10 says "If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved."
Yes! You gave your verbal confession and heart beliefs to God in order to receive salvation that comes through Jesus.
So, how does this principle of Heaven's currency tie into Christian's charging a monetary fee for certain ministerial projects such as devotionals, books, conferences, classes, etc.?
It's simple. Financially supporting ministers is a biblical principle.
1 Timothy 5:17-18 says "Let the elders who perform the duties of their office well be considered doubly worthy of honor [and of adequate financial support], especially those who labor faithfully in preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, You shall not muzzle an ox when it is treading out the grain, and again, The laborer is worthy of his wages."
3 John verses 5-8 says "Beloved, it is a fine and faithful work that you are doing when you give any service to the [Christian] brethren, and [especially when they are] strangers. They have testified before the church of your love and friendship. You will do well to forward them on their journey in a way worthy of God’s service. For these [traveling missionaries] have gone out for the Name’s sake (for His sake) so we ourselves ought to support such people [to welcome and provide for them], in order that we may be fellow workers in the Truth (the whole Gospel) and cooperate with its teachers."
In Philippians 4:15-19 we see Paul shedding light on an interesting principle. First, let's start with verse 19, a well-known, often-quoted verse in Christian culture: "And my God will liberally supply (fill to the full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus."
But do you know what verses 15-18 say? "And you Philippians yourselves well know that in the early days of the Gospel ministry, when I left Macedonia, no church (assembly) entered into partnership with me and opened up [a debit and credit] account in giving and receiving except you only. For even in Thessalonica you sent [me contributions] for my needs, not only once but a second time. Not that I seek or am eager for [your] gift, but I do seek and am eager for the fruit which increases to your credit [the harvest of blessing that is accumulating to your account]. But I have [your full payment] and more; I have everything I need and am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent me. [They are the] fragrant odor of an offering and sacrifice which God welcomes and in which He delights."
Paul is essentially saying "you can never out-give God." When you sow seed, you reap a harvest!
Some will say that Christian ministers should not receive any compensation at all and that they should follow the warning of Jesus who said "freely you received, freely give," (Matthew 10:8). People also say that Christian ministers who are "truly spiritual" should turn down any type of monetary reward. These two arguments might sound good, but are they valid? First, let's examine the context of Jesus' words in Matthew 10:8.
"These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them, saying, “Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans; but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. “And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons; freely you received, freely give. “Do not acquire gold, or silver, or copper for your money belts, or a bag for your journey, or even two tunics, or sandals, or a staff; for the worker is worthy of his support. “And into whatever city or village you enter, inquire who is worthy in it; and abide there until you go away," Matthew 10:5-11
The context of Jesus saying "freely you received, freely give," is dealing with healing the sick, raising the dead, cleansing the lepers, and casting out demons. It's interesting to note that in the next two verses Jesus instructed to take along no money (gold or silver), then he says in verse 10, "for the worker is worthy of the support." The implication is that those who are preaching the gospel and performing the ministry that Christ has given them should be supported by those people to whom they minister.
Many Christian ministers spend hours upon hours thoughtfully and prayerfully putting together tools and materials to make it easier for others to quickly learn the same things that might've taken the Minister themselves years to learn. They also spend valuable time away from their families in order to minister and many of them do give a ton of FREE content away.
The real root of this subject revolves around money mindset: those deeply held beliefs, attitudes and assumptions we create about money. Our money mindset forms our thoughts around money, our thoughts determine our emotions about money, our emotions drive our actions with money, our actions become our money habits and our money habits drive the results in our financial life.
Imagine the impact increase we would see if more people understood the biblical principle of sewing and reaping. We would see money mindsets shift from viewing ministry support as an expense to, instead, viewing it as an investment into the Kingdom. #foodforthought
For more inspiring business tools + faith-building resources, follow along at @rachlynnrogers on Instagram or subscribe at www.rachael-rogers.com. Thanks for reading, friends!