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One of the things that we know about ministry is that it is the pursuit of God’s purpose on the earth. God has called you, you have responded to His call and you are now pursuing it, following and chasing after it, working every bit of it out with God. What God has spoken a foretime is being performed now through you. That is Ministry! Now we want to examine the implication of money in that ministry, what is the relevance of it in the pursuit of God’s purpose on your life. Do you need it? If you ever receive it, how do you handle it? Who keeps it, these are what we want to actually look at. Let us quickly examine the book of John 12:1-8.
1Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead. 2There they made Him a supper; and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with Him. 3 Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil. 4But one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, who would betray Him, said, 5 “Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” 6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it. 7 But Jesus said, “Let her alone; she has kept this for the day of My burial. 8 For the poor you have with you always, but Me you do not have always.”
There was a calling upon Judas life. He was part of the disciples Jesus referred to as Apostles from the beginning. His Apostleship was actually his primary call. Apart from this, he was also called a thief. This we might rightly say is his secondary call. He was a thief because the bible says “he used to take money from the purse.” Although, thieving is not the original call of God upon his life, but he became a thief by the things he does with the money being handed to him to manage. If he had been authorised to take from the purse, nobody would record any issues against him, but he does this in secret, out of light and when no one could see him.
Although what Mary did by breaking the Alabaster box of precious ointment could look like an emotional outburst but yet, she was a woman aligning with the will of God. What was the will of God? God expected Jesus to die. Now, Peter being taken over said to Jesus, “You will not die.”This is what an Apostle did, until Jesus rebuked the devil inside of him. This woman as well, did not fight against the death which was the will of God but rather came to announce, came to celebrate, came to make it easy for Jesus’ exit, because what do you do with oil in the first place, oil is used to lubricate. When an oil is applied on something, that thing is made to function effortlessly.
Jesus was to die, lest he die with great friction, He is being anointed to ease the process. That is the spiritual implication of what Mary did by anointing Jesus. She didn’t come to struggle with the will of God but rather she came to say, “Let your will be done oh God.” Although we may want Him to stay, but only the will of God for Him will stand, because what God wills for Him is certainly for us. If Jesus never died, there are certain spiritual experiences that we may never achieve. So, what Mary did was a spiritual activity and she did it to usher in and make the spiritual experience easy.
This spiritual exercise was what Judas was trying to stop by being antagonistic of the activity. He believes the oil should have been sold and the money given to the poor instead of it being wasted on Jesus’ feet. He knows that if the oil was sold, the money would first enter the moneybox of the ministry and from there, it would be given to the poor. John 13:24-29 also gives us a clear perspective on this matter as well.
24 Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask who it was of whom He spoke. 25 Then, leaning back on Jesus’ breast, he said to Him, “Lord, who is it?” 26 Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I shall give a piece of bread when I have dipped it.” And having dipped the bread, He gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. 27 Now after the piece of bread, Satan entered him. Then Jesus said to him, “What you do, do quickly.” 28 But no one at the table knew for what reason He said this to him. 29 For some thought, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus had said to him, “Buy those things we need for the feast,” or that he should give something to the poor.
Now don’t forget that these were apostles, they were fellow disciples. They have been there for years and so, they knew themselves. Many of them didn’t understand why Jesus said what He said to Judas simply because he had always been the one with the money box. And so, many of them just assumed that since the was a day for feasting, Jesus was instructing Judas to buy things they needed for the feast or money should be given to the poor. So they had that impression. They believed that Judas was an Apostle, and he has been assigned with the role of keeping the money box. Whenever money is needed, he releases the money. Anything outside these responsibilities was against the original plan, his job description and the rule of engagement of that position of the keeper of the money box.
So in John 12:6, the bible says what Judas said was not because he cared for the poor actually. Although, he was the money box keeper, and one of the reasons for the monies in the box was to be given to the poor. However, the bible says he didn’t care for the poor…even though he had been or might given money to them in the past from the same money box, he never cared for them. His motives were completely wrong and not pure. So he was carrying out his responsibilities, not because of love but because of his own selfishness. And this is calling to question the things that we are doing, why do we do it?
So, Judas held the position of the money box keeper for more than three years because he was satisfying himself, fanning his own greed. The money box is not to attend to your own personal need, it is to execute the purpose of God. So, if you have the responsibility of keeping the money box, then you know you are not keeping it for yourself, you must never use it to satisfy your personal plans and goals. You might be tempted to think like, but Judas did something like that…but the point is, you know where he ended and I am not certain the kind of legacies he left behind is what you would want to covet for yourself.
Now let us see how God makes provision for the ministry. Don’t forget that ministry is the pursuit of God’s plan, it is you fulfilling the agenda of God in your generation. Ministry is you serving your generation by the will of God, doing it. So, how does God make provision for it. Let us see Luke 8:1-3.
Now it came to pass, afterward, that He went through every city and village, preaching and bringing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with Him, 2 and certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities—Mary called Magdalene, out of whom had come seven demons, 3 and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others who provided for Him from their substance.
The Bible says that the twelve were with Him in the latter part of that verse one, which includes as well Judas, the money box keeper. Verse two made it clear that certain women who had been healed….not who will be healed or were to be healed. It was not like what we have nowadays where people in ministry would ask people to sow into the work of God in order to receive something….No! This was not the order. Because they have received the word of eternal life from Christ, because His ministry had greatly blessed them, they owe their lives to Him. If no one is raised through you, no one is taught and healed through you, and yet; you are looking for resources for ministry. Don’t worry, the looking will continue, until you change and do the needful.
So, the people that you are asking money from; do they owe you anything? Many people that contributed to Jesus’ ministerial assignment did so because Jesus had done something spectacular in their lives, and they felt obligated to bless what He was doing in return. He imparted their lives and they also in return imparted His ministry through their substance. There are people you would impart that they won’t give you what others are giving, they may go beyond the regular giving to give you something else.
What are we doing because we are thieves? What are we doing out of being greedy? What are we doing because we are ambitious? What are we doing because we love the praise of men? What are we doing because we really care about the people? What are we doing because we really love God? Jesus said in Hebrews 10 that he delights to do the will of God. What are we doing out of pure delight, nothing else? You know the Scripture that says in Jeremiah 15:16…..”Your words were found, and I ate them, And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; For I am called by Your name, O Lord God of hosts.” I am not called a thief, but I am called by your Name.
You can’t have a preoccupation about what will people give to you, your focus must be what will you give to the people from all the things that God has blessed your life with. What are you adding to the people, what are you imparting them with? What are you doing that shows selflessness, what are you sacrificing? What is it that you are giving your generation first? Don’t be surprised that God is having the whole world to Himself, simply because He had given first, His only begotten son for this. He gave first before receiving. You are not giving first, and you are expecting to receive, that means you have a different calling, and it is not by the name of the Lord. You are a thief.
It is one thing to be called as a Minister of the gospel, you don’t have to add being a thief to it, it does not fulfill the purpose of God. So, let us walk worthy of our call. What is that call of God upon our lives, let us walk worthy of it. Let us not add anything to the call, what is not meant for you, do not ascribe it to yourself. Don’t steal God’s money, His glory and His honour. Don’t steal what God has not given to you, don’t take it. Don’t appropriate to yourself the things that God has not appropriated to you. The money box should be handled with integrity, with diligence and carefulness as well.
May God help us please Him in Jesus name. Amen!