I love the Roman Catholic denomination.
I was born again into the family of God under RC leaders. In the great mission age from the 16th to the 19th century, their missionaries blanketed the world with their brand of Christianity. To me, that is heroic. Their monks preserved the sacred Scriptures over the centuries. Today, they still stand for Jesus Christ as they know Him, and for the sanctity of life, and the covenant of marriage between one man and one woman. For that, I am thankful.
The family of God extends to every born again one from the day of Pentecost to the present, regardless of denominational labels. In a family, sometimes we have to examine ourselves to see what is right, and what is wrong, and to correct wrongs with the greatest wisdom we have, under the leadership of the Head, the Lord Jesus, and our Father God. The following is submitted in that light…
The Ancient Reason Why Servants of God Live in Poverty
By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches and honor and life. Prov 22:4 NKJV
The statistics indicate that three out of every ten pastors in the USA will die in poverty.
He was a mighty man of God, and I loved to pray with him, because the Spirit almost always would fall on us. When he prophesied, he touched Heaven and shook the earth. Yet when he died, his house was so run down it could not be resold at normal market values, but had to be auctioned off for a pittance. Such poverty is not the will of God!
For two years I attended conferences for apostolic leaders where special offerings were taken because the leaders of the movement were broken financially. The fact that in the wealthiest country on earth such a thing should occur points to a deeply rooted problem within the Church.
Our fathers sinned and are no more, but we bear their iniquities. Lam 5:7 NKJV
For a thousand years Christianity was defined by Roman Catholicism. In 1517, when a Catholic monk named Martin Luther nailed his ninety-five theses to the church door in Wittenberg, Germany, he never envisioned a total split from that religious system. He only sought to reform it. The reformation that Luther, and other men of God, brought was only a repudiation of the most egregious aspects of that medieval religious system, not a complete return to an Acts based, Hebraic, New Testament model of Christianity.
The soul ties that Luther and others had to the Roman Catholic denomination are still in place throughout Christianity.
Here is the crux of this article – Catholic religious priests have made vows of poverty for centuries, which produces destitution and a total reliance on the system for support. In our partial reformation we have accepted, and even taught, that our pastors and ministers should live in poverty as well. Through some diabolical misunderstanding we have associated poverty with humility, as if we have to suffer for our sins, and make a mockery of Jesus’ accomplished work on the Cross. The old joke goes like this – concerning their pastor, the congregation prayed, “Lord, You keep him humble and we will keep him poor!” The joke, actually the curse, is on us!
I submit to you that poverty among servants of God is not only because of mismanagement and wrong teaching, but because of a deeply rooted curse extending back hundreds of years from before the Reformation – the vow of poverty. Until that curse is uprooted in us by the blood of the Lamb, and replaced with the good seed of God’s Word, and the power of the Holy Spirit, we will continue to struggle.
But the just shall live by his faith. Hab 2:4 NKJV
Everyone lives by their faith. We have taught that to ‘live by faith’ means to quit your job, and go out and start preaching. This is lunacy! You can keep your job, and start preaching. The Apostle Paul didn’t do that. When he wasn’t supported by the believers, he went out and made tents ( or, as some believe, made saddles ). The point is, he had a logical, successful plan to support himself in the event that his ministry was not strong enough yet to support him. The curse of ‘the vow of poverty’ didn’t come out of biblical Christianity, but out of medieval Catholicism. Look into the Word…
And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Phil 4:19 NKJV
God makes provision for our needs usually by supplying a job, and always in response to faith. That job is evidence of your faith! My friend Peter lives by faith. He owns a business! Every day he has to operate faith to make his business successful. So does Martin, and Patty, and Steve, and Tom, and Patrick, and Sandra, and Rosemarie, and on and on…they all live by faith. They hired themselves, and started a business. Whether you hire yourself, or work for someone else, it’s all for Christ, and all by faith.
Being in poverty does not equal walking in humility. Poverty is a curse, not a blessing, and no one should make a vow of poverty. As ministers of God we have to break the soul ties with denominational unbelief, even if it goes back five hundred years.
Was Jesus poor? No. Were the apostles poor? No. Consider this fact. Judas, the treasurer was able to buy a field in a suburb of the capital city of Jerusalem from money he embezzled from their treasury. To buy a field today near Jerusalem in Israel would cost tens of thousands of dollars. You can only embezzle a small amount before being discovered. How big was their treasury? Consider this fact. Mary could take a bottle of perfume worth a year’s wages and pour it on Jesus’ feet. How much money did they have? Plenty.
For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich. 2 Cor 8:9 KJV
When did Jesus become poor? At the Cross, when He laid down everything. Jesus did not live in poverty. He doesn’t want His servants to live in poverty, either.
Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain. Prov 30:8-9 KJV
In twenty years in ministry I have never missed a paycheck. I told God when we started that if He couldn’t pay me, through working in people’s hearts to support the ministry, I wouldn’t work for Him. I could work for myself and get paid. Isn’t God a better employer than I am? This doesn’t mean that we haven’t made financial mistakes in our ministry…but God has always been faithful to pay me, and we have prospered.
Are you ready, as a servant of God, to have the Lord break the curse of poverty off of your life, and you begin to prosper in the will of God?
Let’s walk through the steps…
WATCH FOR PART TWO
Remember dear ones, we must be about our Father’s business…