Ministry Support

Judges 8:4-12

Gideon and his three hundred men, exhausted yet keeping up the pursuit, came to the Jordan and crossed it. He said to the men of Sukkoth, “Give my troops some bread; they are worn out, and I am still pursuing Zebah and Zalmunna, the kings of Midian.” But the officials of Sukkoth said, “Do you already have the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna in your possession? Why should we give bread to your troops?” Then Gideon replied, “Just for that, when the Lord has given Zebah and Zalmunna into my hand, I will tear your flesh with desert thorns and briers.”

From there he went up to Peniel and made the same request of them, but they answered as the men of Sukkoth had. So he said to the men of Peniel, “When I return in triumph, I will tear down this tower.”

10 Now Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor with a force of about fifteen thousand men, all that were left of the armies of the eastern peoples; a hundred and twenty thousand swordsmen had fallen. 11 Gideon went up by the route of the nomads east of Nobah and Jogbehah and attacked the unsuspecting army. 12 Zebah and Zalmunna, the two kings of Midian, fled, but he pursued them and captured them, routing their entire army.

Publication

One popular Christian radio station diligently appeals for financial supports from listeners saying: “Please send your financial support to this station. Without your support, we cannot continue to function in our ministry without your support.”

Raising ministry support is intriguing issue. While many believers are willing to share their abundance, some people take advantage of the generosity of others. In the first century, churches had shared their resources to other churches in need or poor.

It says in 1 Corinthians 16:2-4, 2On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made. 3Then, when I arrive, I will give letters of introduction to the men you approve and send them with your gift to Jerusalem. 4If it seems advisable for me to go also, they will accompany me.

Paul advised the believers in the church of Corinth to share their abundance. Corinth was the leading trade centre in the Roman Empire. With or without support, ministry in Jerusalem continued. But, Paul appealed for support because believers throughout Judea were suffering from severe poverty at that time.

One objective of our mission ministry includes assisting less privileged churches that have similar doctrines with us. Let’s learn from our passage about ministry support. Gideon felt the need for assistance while they hunted down the rest of the Midianites

1. Assistance

Gideon and his three hundred men, exhausted yet keeping up the pursuit, came to the Jordan and crossed it. He said to the men of Sukkoth, “Give my troops some bread; they are worn out, and I am still pursuing Zebah and Zalmunna, the kings of Midian.” But the officials of Sukkoth said, “Do you already have the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna in your possession? Why should we give bread to your troops?” Then Gideon replied, “Just for that, when the Lord has given Zebah and Zalmunna into my hand, I will tear your flesh with desert thorns and briers.” From there he went up to Peniel and made the same request of them, but they answered as the men of Sukkoth had. So he said to the men of Peniel, “When I return in triumph, I will tear down this tower.”

Previously, the Ephraimites felt bad that they were not called to join Gideon during the first attack. Nonetheless, the Ephraimites helped to destroy the two leaders of Midian. Inspite of that, 2 kings of Midian have escaped and were able to cross the Jordan River. And, Gideon and his 300 continued to pursue them.

The battle could have extended all day long and everyone was tired. Actually, they had not slept. Perhaps, they rested for a little while. They needed some food. So, Gideon asked for assistance from Succoth and Peniel but they were given nothing but mockery. They did not recognize the bravery of Gideon and the 300.

Why did God allowed the people of Asher, Naphtali, Manasseh and Ephraim to help Gideon and the 300 but not the people on the eastern side of Jordan?

Clergy Tax Exemption

Atheist leaders of Freedom from Religion Foundation filed for Tax Exemption similar to clergy benefit but were denied. In retaliation, they filed a cased against the clergy benefits. A federal judge has declared that the longstanding clergy housing allowance violates the establishment clause of the First Amendment. Because of that, more than 5,000 appeal that the special provisions for ministers actually keep the government from unnecessarily meddling in religious affairs.

In your opinion, should pastors rally for government support or benefits? Do pastors need tax break from the government to function or d ministry more effectively?

Gideon asked for food for him and his 300 men from the people of Succoth and Peniel. He did not ask them to join them accomplish their mission of going after their enemies. Gideon and his men were very tired. They need to be strengthened but God did not allow the people of Succoth and Peniel to cooperate, why?

Did God want them to know that even without support, even when they became weak, Gideon and his 300 men can succeed in their mission? Did God want Gideon to know that it’s not with their strength but in their weakness that they experienced victory against their adversaries? Paul testified in 2 Corinthians 12:10, 10That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

The Israelites from the northern part of Israel have followed the lead of Gideon but the Israelites on the eastern side of Jordan River insulted him. They did not want to support him. Faction in Israel may have caused Gideon’s hesitation to lead earlier.

Faction is also a problem among believers. It says in Galatians 5:19-21, 19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions  21and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Faction is in the same statement with other ungodly sinful nature. Faction is one tragic reason why churches split. When a leader asks for assistance or involvement in the ministry, others don’t like to join if the leader does not belong to their group.

Whoever leads, involvement in the ministry is another practical manifestation of the empowerment of the Spirit of Christ. When church members keep in step with the Holy Spirit, factionalism, hatred, and discord cannot dictate ministry results.

Gideon was furious because he expected assistance but did not get. Without assistance, Gideon and his 300 men defeated the remaining 15,000 adversaries.

2. Adversaries

10 Now Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor with a force of about fifteen thousand men, all that were left of the armies of the eastern peoples; a hundred and twenty thousand swordsmen had fallen. 11 Gideon went up by the route of the nomads east of Nobah and Jogbehah and attacked the unsuspecting army. 12 Zebah and Zalmunna, the two kings of Midian, fled, but he pursued them and captured them, routing their entire army.

How could 300 men defeat 15,000 men? That’s 1 Israelite against 50 Midianites.

With God on their side, Gideon and his 300 men defeated their adversaries.

Earlier, they destroyed 120,000, and went after the 15,000 who escaped until they defeated all the Midianites and eastern people who invaded them.

There’s no enemy too great before the Lord. Gideon didn’t rely upon number or strength. They were very tired but they did not stop. They kept on. Such is a practical example of service that we experience when the Spirit of the Lord prevail in us.

It also exemplified what Paul wrote in Philippians 4:12-13, 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Before Gideon and his 300 men attack the Midianites, they had much provision with them. It says in Judges 7:8, So Gideon sent the rest of the Israelites home but kept the three hundred, who took over the provisions and trumpets of the others.

If they were hungry after they crossed the Jordan River, it must have been late in the afternoon. Maybe, it was the next day. The reality was that they have consumed all their provisions while attacking their enemies. What may hinder you to serve the Lord?

It teaches us in 1 Peter 4:10-11, 10Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

Personal concerns are most common reasons of not getting more serious in the Lord. For sure, we all have problems but we should not let our personal concerns to stop us from serving God. We should consider problems as opportunity for ministry. Ministry is not limited to church setting.

While involvement in church ministry helps us to grow spiritually, applying what we learn in the church to our circumstances proves that we have grown spiritually. One reason why God allows problems inside the church is for us to learn from experience. How the church deals with problems can be applied individually.

How does the church deal with financial needs, conflicts, rejection, faction, disobedience, and even priorities of ministries. Let’s keep reminding each other with gladness until it sink thoroughly and applied in our life Matthew 6:33-34, 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

If this is the only verse you can memorize and apply in your life for now, it is a very promising spiritual growth on your part. Pray and seek God’s help on how you may realize it practicality in your life.

<‘)))>< ltsii/2018 ><(((‘>

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.