October 2, 2020
Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give (Matthew 10:8).
Carol Owens wrote a once popular hymn entitled “Freely, Freely.” It goes like this:
God forgave my sin in Jesus' name.
I've been born again in Jesus' name
And in Jesus' name I come to you
To share his love as he told me to.
He said 'Freely, freely you have received;, freely, freely give.
Go in my name, and because you believe others will know that I live.
The authority Jesus gave to the apostles included the same authority He demonstrated over nature, disease, Satan, and death. It is the same authority all Christians have but is to be exercised within the parameters of the spiritual gifts we have received and according to the will of God as dictated by the Holy Spirit.
The last clause of the verse is significant. The apostles were to use the authority Jesus gave them without thought of personal gain. The authority of Jesus Christ was, and is not for sale. Simon the magician made the mistake of trying to buy that authority from Peter and John. He was rebuked sharply by Peter who demanded Simon repent of the sin (Acts 8:14-25).
It is true that a laborer is worthy of his hire (Luke 10:7; 1 Corinthians 9:8-14; 1 Timothy 5:18), and as such, ministers are to have their needs met by those receiving their ministry. However, ministry is not to be a personal money-making endeavor. The many tasks of pastors, missionaries, evangelists, and teachers are not to be administered at a cost.
In surveying the ‘Christian’ landscape today, it appears that many who believe themselves called by God to labor in His ‘fields white to harvest’ keep much of the grain for themselves, while others who profess to be ‘shepherding the flock’ of God are in fact fleecing the sheep! Not only does this bring shame to the name of Jesus Christ and hamstrings the ongoing work of His Kingdom on earth, they also store up God’s wrath when they appear before the Lord in judgment. “He who preaches to get a living, or to make a fortune, is guilty of the most infamous sacrilege” (Adam Clarke).
“Lord Jesus, remind me again that You are to receive the honor and glory for the ministry I conduct in Your name. Thank You for the support Your people extend to me, but may I never think it is deserved. Only You deserve whatever praise results from my work. I ask this in Your name, Amen.”