Money has always been a sensitive and touchy issue for many people both in our society and religious community. The experiences of people who are conned by unscrupulous charlatans are very common. Therefore when pastors and church leaders appeal for funds for God’s work, inevitably some people may be suspicious and/or skeptical of their intentions. As such, church leaders should all the more be transparent in the issue of raising funds for missions or other charitable projects.
This is what Paul did with the Corinthians in Second Corinthians chapter nine which gives us a sound basis to follow:
He made sure that all things would be handled honestly and above board. He informed the Corinthians before he sent an advance party to help in the collection (2Cor. 9:3). Paul organized a committee to handle financial project to provide for fiscal integrity. He did not do it alone nor handle money by himself (2Cor. 9:5). Paul is no autocratic pastor!
Paul was also upfront with people with regard to the purpose of the project: what it is for and how the funds should be disbursed etc. He laid down the theological foundations for the raising of funds for missions in 2Cor. 9:8-15:
It is God who enabled them to abound in their generosity (vs. 8).
Paul uses the analogy of the farmer to illustrate his point (vs. 10) which ties in beautifully with what he shared earlier in vs. 6 about “sowing and reaping sparingly/bountifully etc.”
a. God is the provider of seeds to the farmer.
b. He is the cause of growth and harvest.
c. He enables the farmer to provide food to others.
d. His blessings cause the receiver and giver to give thanks for His bountiful provision.
e. This cycle of sowing, reaping and thanksgiving will go on forever: “As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth forever” (vs. 9).
This theological basis becomes our clear perspective on giving. From beginning to end it is God who is the generous giver so that our giving is the practical outflow and proof of His divine grace that is richly lavished upon us through the gospel of Jesus Christ.
In turn, we become channels of blessing to others so that ultimately God is glorified and praised by all men.
Rev. Mark Tay