PANHANDLING FOR JESUS: WHEN BEGGING IS SUBSTITUTED FOR FAITH

Posted: June 24, 2014 in Uncategorized
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He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in their belts—” (Mark 6:8)

And he said to them, “When I sent you out with no moneybag or knapsack or sandals, did you lack anything?” They said, “Nothing.” (Luke 22:35)

There is a growing trend occurring within the body of Christ of those whom have went from relying on faith and trusting God to meet their daily needs, to more or less, resorting to begging from others to supply their need. Not only has this resulted in abuse when it comes to supporting a ministry, it’s a disturbing sign which says many have forgotten the true meaning of walking by faith.

While not every request for donations is a sign of someone failing to trust God in meeting their daily needs, it is a sign that says (unless it addresses a particular need in of itself to meet the needs of others) someone’s faith has been compromised. This is all a result of not just the church finding itself at odds with genuine faith reliance for personal welfare, but a more broader example of how much the world itself has crept into the camp and has influenced many a believer, and/or ministry in how to believe for their personal support.

Notice the apostle Paul. “and when I was present with you and was in want, I was not a burden on any man; for the brethren, when they came from Macedonia, supplied the measure of my want; and in everything I kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep myself.” (2 Corinthians 11:9)   Paul was making a point that we all should take heed to, that in his work in not just establishing churches and preaching among the many cities he would find himself traveling to, he relied only on the support of a few, not the majority of churches he planted, nor did he even ask for general support. The reason? He understood he wanted to not be a burden on the people and instead, he labored, at times,by his secular trade when possible (tent maker).

In almost every case, when God called a man to do some extraordinary work, God met that faith exceedingly. From men such as John G. Lake, who, by faith, traveled to Africa with less than $100 dollars in his pocket, only to see God supernaturally meet a $200 dollar entrance fee into Africa itself, to as well providing for his entire family a home – completely furnished. To Hudson Taylor, missionary to China, who by faith, would not take an offering from a church, nor ask for such for the needs to be met with his work in mainland China. Yet God supernaturally met each need through prayer. Taylor once stated that, “God’s work done God’s way will never lack God’s supply”, and God proved that thru Hudson Taylor.

Then there is Dr. Lester Sumrall, who, at the age of 19, was called to literally “go into all the world” and preach the gospel – starting with China. With only $21in his pocket and a stirring of a profound calling, Sumrall would venture into the world and the rest, as the story would say, is history. Consider the following from Dr. Sumrall’s own account:

“I entered into the ministry with a kind of faith that perhaps many young men of my time did not possess. The day I walked out the front door of my father’s house to become a preacher, I had just a few coins in my pocket, but I was not concerned. I knew only one thing: I was called by God to preach the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Many people would never enter into fulltime ministry with no resources at all; but to me it seemed the only thing to do, and I had no problem doing it. I had no negative thought about it; I just did it.
Three years later, I was in San Francisco, ready to set out around the world as a missionary. For three nights before boarding the ship, I preached in a very large church, for which I received no offering. I had to look to God as my Source. When the pastor of that church took me to the boat, he proceeded to tell me how I would starve to death in China. In response I said that if I did, I wanted him to send a little tombstone to China that read, “Here lies Lester Sumrall, who starved to death trusting Jesus.”
He said, “I won’t do it!”
I said, “I won’t need it!”
Those were my last words on mainland America. I boarded a ship and sailed away, headed for Australia and New Zealand to start preaching around the world. Throughout my journey, God provided for me locally. I had no contacts in America, no churches contributing to my support. God supernaturally provided for my every need.  I lived in a constant state of having to believe God for my next day’s transportation. Sometimes when traveling long distances, such as across Siberia and Russia, we had to pay in advance. I always had the necessary money at the proper time. For our trip to Tibet, which took three months on muleback, we had to hire a cook, an interpreter, and seventeen pack animals. A few nights before we were to leave, I had no funds to pay for the trip. The Lord provided the whole amount through one Chinese woman, a general’s wife, to whom I had ministered healing from our Lord Jesus. In the function and operation of faith, you do not scream and cry, “What am I going to do?” You must rely on God to meet your need. We just rejoiced in the Lord, and it came to pass!”

The question which needs to be asked is, when have we traded faith for panhandling? Faith for welfare? Faith for begging? Faith for trusting God to supernaturally meeting our needs as he has promised to do? I believe it is a direct result of our American ideology as it relates to capitalism which has hindered many a servant of God in these current times we are living in. Let me be equally clear though, I do understand the desire to ask for others for help when needed, but the greatest hindrance to any ministry is complete reliance on self and selfish means to an end, when God desires us to go to him for our needs to be met. There is specific reasons why this is, but the main reason is for God himself to get the glory. When people seek other avenues for support or for help, especially in the realm of financial supply instead of going our heavenly Father, God is side stepped, virtually placed into a corner who has no input into the need to be truly met and instead, the individual relies on others for support when in fact it is God’s will to prove himself to both the servant in need as well as others who would take notice of how God met that particular need. 

Can one imagine Jesus telling Peter to go and catch a fish and inside the mouth of said fish, a gold coin would be found that would pay the necessary tax for both of them? (Matthew 17:24-27) How would it be had Peter instead, went to other disciples and asked for the money instead? The result would have reduced Peter’s faith and the lesson Christ was trying to teach not only Peter, but us as well.

Even in my own life, God has met my needs each and every time, when I prayed according to his perfect will. When God called me to China, I had no money, no possible financial resource but my faith that God would supply. Little did I know one year ago how that God would supernaturally meet my need to not just go to China, but establish my work there in the coming future. From the moment God spoke to my spirit to “Go to China” God met my need for the plane ticket, my hotel, visa, personal expenses and travel costs. God took a poor, broke servant of God and paid my entire expenses, not because of anything I could have done, but because I had faith in what God spoke to my spirit, and I operated in that same faith by obeying God.

It must be said again and again, that God only honors us in meeting our needs when we honor him by stepping out in perfect faith, it is only then, when we step out in trusting God, that God meets us where we are at and supplies our every need. From Abraham and the sacrificial ram, to Jesus and the feeding of the 5,000 with only 5 loaves of bread and two fishes, God has proven that when we trust him daily to meet our needs and simply look to him and him alone, he will do great and mighty things that reveal his goodness and his mercy, but equally, demonstrate to others of his love to his children. That is why Christians have no need of panhandling for their needs to be met, but simply to walk by faith – faith in the promises of God. “And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” (Matthew 21:22)

Christopher

christopher152@gmail.com

 

 

 

Comments
  1. Sarahpom says:

    Reblogged this on THE NOAH MISSION and commented:
    Wonderful article! Couldn’t have said it better! Thank you.

  2. GK says:

    I totally agree…This reverberates in my spirit. as a young girl of 12 I first read the biography of George Mueller, and It forever “ruined” me. Since then I have in my heart of hearts believed that “my right hand should never know what my left hand is doing.My prayer is that God would increase my faith to gladly take that leap…in whatever He calls me to do. Thank you for the reminder. Blessings.

  3. Scarlett says:

    Christian panhandling and beg-a-thons have been a sore point with me for many years. Since the advent of the Internet, online PayPal “ministries” have sprung up all over the Internet with no real desire to preach the gospel but to enrich themselves at the expense of gullible Christians.

    “7now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? 8“I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” Luke 18

  4. RJ Dawson says:

    Very good. Thanks. Since outright begging and similar non-Scriptural funding methods have become standard fare for many “ministries,” and since such ministries consider themselves worthy while they consider many others (or most) as unworthy, and since they have long since figured out how to manipulate people into giving, one must know that it is certainly possible to bypass the Lord Jesus or His will regarding funding and how to gain it.

    It should be obvious that the Lord supports the ministries He has created and supports those whom He has called, but just as obvious that the begging ministries do not need Him for funding whatsoever. This should give a clear indication that He does not support certain ministries and that is the main reason they must seek their funding elsewhere and will go to any means to gain it.

    Living by faith and obedience to the Lord Jesus is key. God always provides for His own. We must give where He says to give. We must support what He tells us to support.

    But it must be noted, as you know, that if a person’s heart is right and he or she really loves the Lord and believes in the Lord’s overall ministry of which His disciples are each only a part, he or she will do anything Scriptural to support the Lord’s ministry and the Lord, even one’s own ministry given by the Lord, including earning money personally for it if no other funding is forthcoming (tent-making), without putting the focus on the Lord or others and demanding their support.

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