Supporting God's Work God's way

Dr. O.M. Samuel

Can God support His work? Obviously He can. How does he do it? There is no limit to the ways He uses. Think of Elijah's experiences with the ravens, the widow at Zarephath and the angel (1 Kings 17-19). But how does God desire to support His work today? To whom should we look for support? How does the Lord desire to support His servants and His work?

From the Old Testament

We have some hints already from the Old Testament. In Genesis 14 and Hebrews 7 we see Abraham, returning home from a successful campaign against the Kings who have captured his nephew Lot. We also see him giving a tenth of all the spoil to Melchizedek. This interesting person who came and blessed Abraham was the King of Salem and the Priest of the most high God. God had prospered Abraham. No one demanded anything of him but in this way he could render to God a portion of his material wealth, which God had so graciously given him. Under the Law, God commanded Israel to give tithes-a tenth of all He blessed them with. One of the purposes for which these were used was the support of the Levites, the tribe especially set apart to serve God. These tithes served as their inheritance. Numbers 18 shows us that the Levites in turn gave a tenth of the tithes they received to the priests. Thus the Lord supported His servants through the tithes of His people as He blessed them and provided for their needs.

From the New Testament

The Gospels tell us little about how the Lord Jesus was supported during the years of His earthly ministry. Hebrews 7:11-14 makes plain that Jesus was not a Levite supported through the peoples' tithes. He did not turn stones into bread following Satan's suggestion to cater to his self interest! For self interest he did not perform any miracles. He always did the will of Him who had sent Him. In Luke 8:1-3 we see certain people who had benefited from His ministry but there were also many others providing for him from their substance.

Paul did not refuse financial support from Christians where things were basically in order. His letter to the Philippians contains a warm hearted "thank you" for a gift they had sent him. He gratefully mentioned how years earlier, just after he had brought the gospel to them, within less than a month, they had twice sent him gift. He commended their labour of love not because they met his needs but because of what they meant to God. He referred to their gifts as a sweet smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice well pleasing to God.

God's people are to be faithful with their finances to God and to His work. In Malachi 3, God says failure to do this tantamounts to robbing Him. This robbing will never impoverish Him because His resources are limitless; yet He is sensitive to our giving.

For the last 26 years we have been experiencing God's supporting hands in the running of this Institute. God is doing this through the helping hands of many faithful saints. Our Lord is a good Master completely to be depended upon.