I want to invite you to a way of thinking about money that has the potential to end the confusion and cognitive dissonance regarding our finances as Christians. Warning: This is not likely Dave Ramsey approved content (though I do think God wants you to have financial peace, living debt-free, by walking in radical reliance).
I know all the things people say to work around what Jesus said about money. I’ve heard them being spoken by pastors and Christian financial advisors all my life and believed them wholeheartedly until God radically saved me from panic attacks and anxiety almost five years ago. (These attacks were, by the way, a result of my mind being divided in attention (merimna) between allegiance to God and allegiance to myself) . You should know from the beginning that I will not be parsing the difference between “having money” and “serving/loving money,” because it impossible to know how much you serve it, or need it, or love it until you are invited to give it away and invest it in the kingdom. This is my goal in this post. I want to extend to you the offer of Jesus, which is His invitation to join the Kingdom economy by giving your money away and following Him. What I am saying is nothing new, but it is one more chance to align yourself with what Jesus has already said and what He is inviting all of us to do.
What does this even mean—join the Kingdom economy?
Let me paint you a picture. In short—no one is unloved, no one is unseen, no need is unmet. This is a kingdom with righteousness and justice as the foundation. And all this through the church, the body of Christ; not the government…not yet, at least (though one day Jesus will come and establish this kind of Kingdom on earth).
It means you have to be open to undo most of what you think about money (even from supposedly “Christian” sources) and embrace the truth of what Jesus said about money. It is really as simple as that. And yet, Jesus said it’s nearly impossible (Mark 10:27).
Isn’t it interesting that Jesus said it was incredibly difficult for only one group of people to enter the kingdom-the rich? He didn’t say it was impossible for sinners, prostitutes, or adulterers, or liars, or thieves. He said it was impossible for the RICH to enter the Kingdom of God (easier for a literal camel to go through an actual eye of the needle). When the disciples despaired of this, and said, “who then can be saved?,” Jesus said that with man it is impossible but all things are possible with God. Note that the context of the verse “with God, all things are possible” is the ability for those who have excess money to enter the kingdom. That should make us rethink our ideas about money. It HAS been nearly impossible for me and my husband to do this and I know our family will only get here by the grace of God. But this is where we are going. Come with me. To understand the kingdom economy, you have you yield to three things: 1) Radical Reliance, 2) Radical Generosity, and 3) Radical Receiving.
No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? (Matthew 6:25-26)
Have you ever considered that our ability to not worry about money is tied to one thing—if we have truly decided to serve God or not? Believing that we can neither serve “both God and man” (Gal. 1:10) nor “God and money” (Matt. 6:24), we resist the offer to build any kingdom that is not His. You cannot serve God and money at the same time.
Our money is not our money. It is God’s money He gives to us. Technically we have no possessions. We are stewarding what He has entrusted to us. He owns everything, from cattle to the wealth of the nations (Psalm 50:10-11, Haggai 2:6-9). On the other hand, we do have possessions. These are the things we keep for ourselves and consider ours. But Jesus often challenges people to sell their possessions and give to the poor. Why? Because possessions can create a sense of security and comfort that keeps us from radical reliance and obedience to leave the familiar and disciple the nations. Living reliant on God like birds and flowers means that we hold our possessions so loosely that if anyone asks of us we will give it to them. It also means that we do not panic when it looks like we won’t have “enough.” Instead, we pray and make our needs known to God and to our body of believers, and God will give us what we need for each day.
By the way, what is enough? Is it a certain lifestyle you’ve grown accustomed to? Is it cars and houses and a bedroom for each child? Is it a roof over your head and daily bread? Or do you need to know where your money is coming from a week or even five years in advance? In order for us to be content in His provision, we need to expect nothing more than the birds or flowers, simply what we need, according to the sovereignty of a generous and good God (Philippians 4:19, Psalm 34:10, Psalm 145:15-16). This is not a technicality, it is a foundational principle that if you do not get, you will miss the kingdom. You may be saved from hell, as one snatched from a fire, but you will miss the joy of kingdom living while you live on earth!
The trap of riches (1 Timothy 6:9-11), is that a steady overabundance provided from a large salary or storing of wealth gives the illusion that this is your money that you have earned and so God is not the one providing, you are! Want to test this? Ask yourself how you would feel if God told you to sell your stocks and give them along with all your savings to the poor. Or what if you lost your job tomorrow? Are you at peace or are you panicking? What would your reaction be? What about retirement? What about housing in my old age? Did Jesus give you permission to worry about those things? He explicitly says not to worry about tomorrow, what you will eat or drink or wear, but to seek the kingdom first and our Father would give you what you need (Matthew 6:34).
On the flip side, a small salary or welfare check that feels like you are barely scraping by, or lacking money, gives the illusion that God is not providing for you. But is that really true? The truth is that either you believe it is God radically and miraculously providing for us in all sorts of ways or you believe that you provide for yourself. Which is it? We cannot serve both man and money. And God will not be mocked (Galatians 6:7). So we should choose to recognize Him as your provider and ask Him for what you need.
In order for this to work, there are lies you have to trade in for truth.
I give up the lie that I provide for myself and my family. Instead I receive the truth that God is my provider and all my possessions are no longer to be considered mine. I lead my family in trusting Him for our daily bread. This means every source of income is His provision for us. Every good and perfect gift is from Him. Everything I give to others is a gift from Him, not me. It is His money reallocated for His purposes. I give it in the name and authority of Jesus for His glory.
I give up the lie that working for a salary is the only responsible thing to do. Instead I do the work of the kingdom as the only responsible thing. I seek it first. I find out where God wants to place me. If there is a salary where God is placing me, great! I will use it and provide for other kingdom work out of it. If there is no salary for the work of the kingdom God has called me to, I ask God to provide and I ask others to partner with His work in the world. This does not make me lazy. It means some work is not funded by the world and will need to be crowd-funded by the church. The people that will help will be those who are already living in the Kingdom and understand the kingdom economy.
I seek the kingdom first, even in salaried placements. I do not live as if my value to God is “doing good” for the community or “being excellent” at my craft or “funding” the others working on the front lines. It is not enough to be a “good example” of a Christian. Instead, I actively make disciples in my place of business, gain the spiritual confidence I need to be able to share the gospel and plant churches, and I work for the kingdom unashamedly. If I am prohibited from promoting Jesus in certain ways in my profession (a teacher or healthcare worker, for example), I find the loopholes that will allow me to boldly share the reason for the hope I have, which is Christ. I am not ashamed. And I am willing to lose my job if it comes to that. God will provide.
Consider again, the story of the rich man who did not choose to follow Jesus “because He has much land/property.” Jesus said “Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, “Then who can be saved?” 27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” (Mark 10:17-27). How would it have been possible? If the man sold it all to buy the treasure-which would have meant being with Jesus in His projects and ministry. On the front lines.
God is looking for generosity, not mandated or run by a government, but the kind that comes from each person deciding that God is their King, that He is worth following wholeheartedly, and that He is desiring to use us personally as fountains of His provision to those who need it (regardless of their return on investment, when it comes to the poor and needy). On the other hand, Jesus also talks about the way we should actively look for ways to invest in the Kingdom of God, with hope for return on investment.
The parable of the talents is about people being given different amounts of their master’s money and investing them for their master’s interest (Matthew 25:14-30). Some people have a little money and some have a lot. Though some interpret this parable as how we can invest our natural gifts in the kingdom, this is not primarily about using our talents or skills “for God” but about money (talents was a measurement of silver-the English word “talent” came from this parable)!
This story is actually Jesus giving us financial advice about how we must be investing the material provision He gives us (in varying amounts) to grow the kingdom, which is growing internally inside people (Matt 25:14-30, Luke 17:21). What will you do with your money? That is important to Jesus! Think about the people that impressed Jesus in the gospels. The needy with great faith (Matthew 8:5-13), the widow who gave her last coin (Mark 12:41-44 ) and the one who poured an expensive oil on Jesus’ feet (Luke 7:36-50). If Jesus is a king, then does He not take joy in our financial gifts going to His honor, His projects, and His purposes in the world? Shouldn’t His joy be our joy? As we release our finances in generosity to obey Jesus (by investing in the kingdom), God will bless us even more (Malachi 3:10).
The only servant who displease the master is the one who squirreled his money away, out of fear, with no return on investment for His master. Jesus literally says not to store up treasure on earth (Matthew 6:19-21). That means don’t do it. Don’t worry about your future provision. Why? Because, again, He wants your reliance, your generosity, so you can gratefully receive provision from His hand. And He wants you to experience the joy of being a participant in the kingdom economy!
So what does He want you to do with your money? This is no secret. He says straight up:
SELL EVERYTHING YOU HAVE TO BUY THE LAND WHERE THE TREASURE IS. SELL EVERYTHING TO BUY THE PEARL. (Matthew 13:44-46)
What does He treasure that we should also treasure? I am fully convinced that the treasure of the Kingdom is God’s presence, the land of God! We get to live NOW in the promised land of provision and rest and minister to the world alongside Jesus, inviting others in, just like those He invited to follow Him while He was on earth. We do this WITH HIM! This is amazing. When we obey His commands our reward is His presence (John 14:15-24) . We get to be one with Him! How do we do this? We obey Him by unloading ourselves of every other form of reliance and security.
We get aligned. Calibrated. Give to the poor, heal the hurting and demonized, and work to expand the Kingdom of God in the hearts of people. He wants to be one with us so that we can see the way He sees. When you sell all you have to buy the treasure of His presence, you will begin to see the kingdom of God expanding all around you (Matthew 26:11)—with the poor, the needy, the sick, the orphan, the widow, the hurt, the lost.
That’s where our money should be going, to where God’s heart is being poured out—to the lowest places (Matthew 25:40, Matthew 10:42, Hebrews 6:10). That means giving directly to those in need and also identifying kingdom workers who are needing financial support to humbly administer the ministry God has called them to do. We do this joyfully with hopes that we will see a harvest of righteousness (2 Corinthians 9:5-15), both here in the expansion of the kingdom in the hearts and lives of saved/healed people (the word saved also means healed/made whole), and in heaven after the great harvest happens. We are not only working for this lifetime, but the next lifetime. (1 Timothy 6:17-19, 1 Peter 5:4, Matthew 16:27, Matthew 25:21, Luke 12:33-34) We seek to serve Jesus and find Him in the faces of the sick, poor, and imprisoned. (Matthew 25:40-45)
As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. 18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 19 thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life. 1 Timothy 6:17-19
Generosity then ceases to be a weight or requirement of your religion, and becomes the weightlessness of a heart that truly knows the peace that Jesus gives, because you trust God to be your provision. This allows you to give even when you are in extreme poverty, like the widow who gave her last coin, the widow who provided for Elijah, and like Mary (Mark 12:41-44, 1 Kings 17:7-16, Luke 7:36-39). Because it is God’s job to provide for you, not yours. So you get to continually pour out all you have. And you become a fountain of His mercy and grace to others, not only when you have enough, not only to the people who deserve it, but without reserve to the poor and with hospitality and solidarity to the worker in the field.
When we give, we do not give under compulsion (2 Corinthians 9:5-15). You do not have to give (Acts 5:1-4). When you feel forced to give, you end up giving grudgingly so people will see it. But Jesus said it’s best to give almost without thinking, secretly so only He gets glory from your generosity (Matthew 6:3). Then you will give with a willing heart that has been won over to obeying the ways of Jesus, not because you have to, but because you have actually done it by faith and seen that it is the best way of living! You sense His pleasure-His presence.
It is also important that when you give, you must always do it from a place of receiving. There is nothing worse than a rich benefactor that will not accept a meal when they are sick or a gift from a thankful heart. Pride can tempt someone who is used to being a “giver” to say–oh I do not need your gift, I am a benefactor! I love the story of how the churches in Macedonia, including Philippi and Thessalonica, were led by God to give money back to Jerusalem because they had shared in their spiritual blessings, even though they were themselves impoverished at the time! (Romans 15:26)
But God wants us to depend on Him others and accept His love from our brothers and sisters so that: ‘The one who had much did not have too much, and the one who had little did not have too little.’ (2 Corinthians 8:15 citing Exodus 16:18)
This is the concept of manna or daily bread, which Jesus told us we should ask for in the Lord’s prayer. Learning to give and receive well to and from others in the kingdom makes us know we are loved and provided for by God. And when we are able to receive what we need from others as a gift from God’s hand, we can give to others and invest in the kingdom without reservation. Because we know that He really does see us. So we can live by faith.
In order for this to work, there are lies you have to trade in for truth.
I give up the lie that I have to save money for my security. Instead I release with generosity the abundance and extra to the active and current work of God in the world, asking God for only my daily bread and believing that when I am in need, God will instruct others to provide for me.
I give up the lie that I can only give when I have enough. And I receive the invitation to give out of my poverty or my wealth as God moves my heart.
I give up the lie that I always HAVE to give. Instead I ask God to keep my heart soft and humble so that I am able to both receive and give willingly and joyfully, always willing to share what I have.
Now we can turn our attention to those working full time to help bring healing by make disciples in an evangelist/missionary/apostle role. As someone moving into this, I have thought and prayed and studied a great deal to understand what God wants in this. First, a caveat. Working a paying job in the community is valuable to building connections with those who don’t know Jesus, and we want to stay engaged in the community, so if you can continue to work, even part time, please do so. But there may come a time when your ministry is taking too much time for you to bring in a salary because you are moving around a lot to minister, need a special visa to work outside your country, or you have a lot of people you need to disciple in a certain place and it is taking all your time.
You then may become an outlet for those divesting their money out of their abundance and overflow. If your full-time work is a project of the Kingdom, then God will provide for it, not because you deserve it, but because it is His project. His zeal will accomplish it (Isaiah 9:7) and He will give you the resources you need. I love how the apostle Paul expected the church to provide for him and for the poor in Jerusalem (2 Corinthians 8-9). In his letter to the Corinthians, he talks about the generosity of the other Christian communities with such joy that it’s hard to fathom. He revels in their partnership in the gospel. He delights in telling them that he can’t wait until he sees them again so he can bless them and be “equipped by them” financially to keep going. And they joyfully gave and rejoiced to see the harvest that would come of their generosity (2 Corinthians 9:10-15)
On the other hand, God is not obligated to fund ministries that are simply dreamed up as a project “for Him without Him.” Again, it is not your job to find useful ways to use your natural giftings and talents for the kingdom. It is your job to surrender those to Jesus and then wait and listen and see what He is doing and how you can be a part of it. Huge difference. He wants you to need Him and His direction.
So make sure that your projects actually ARE God’s projects (not just your ideas “for Him”) before you start recruiting kingdom resources for them. Otherwise you will eventually likely fall into the company of false prophets and teachers who are teaching for their own legacy and their own personal gain. Jesus said that many start out promoting Christ and trying to serve God, but with the first hardship end up falling away and begin serving money and the world (Mark 4:18-20, Matthew 24:24). Paul saw this too (2 Timothy 4:3). You must make sure your whole life is surrendered to God (including your giftings, riches, renown and reputation) before you try to enter into full time ministry. You must die an excruciating and glorious self-death and be crucified with Christ so only He comes alive in you to bear His fruit (Mark 4:20, John 15:5). Then you will only be interested in working His projects.
Finally, just as the radically generous must also be open to receive, the receivers of generosity must also be ready to give, to work a job, to sustain the kingdom and provide for the poor out of what God has given you. Only twice do we see Paul making a living by making tents (once in Corinth (Acts 18:3) and once in Thessalonica (1 Thessalonians 2:9)), but he didn’t seem to mind it. He did this because, it seems, he never pulled support from the current church he was planting (because he wanted to offer the gospel for free- 1 Corinthians 9:15), but he always expected support from those churches who were established and part of his team (seen most notably in Philippi and Corinth). As a full-time minister of the gospel (missionary, pastor, global worker, etc), you are not the end of the giving flow, you are also responsible for investing money back into the kingdom. You have the responsibility to use it well, to put it to work, not in stocks and banks, but to serve God’s interest. What are you doing to make disciples and extend the healing of Jesus into the broken minds and hearts of this world? We receive graciously so we can give graciously.
We also cannot only ask rich people to invest in the kingdom. We have to allow the poor to invest too, even beyond their means sometimes (2 Corinthians 8:1-5). If I am honest, this idea triggers horror stories me of morally failed televangelist asking old people to give their money to a tv ministry, so the person can buy a jet. Obviously Paul is not endorsing extortion here. We are talking about people giving out of what they have (whether much or little) for the Kingdom of God and that gift being received and stewarded by a man or woman of God with thankfulness and used wisely to sow and yield fruit (more of Jesus in the world). I love the story of the widow who gave Elijah her last flour cake (1 Kings 17:7-16). How he must have hated asking for her last bit of food. How much trust did it take for him to ask her? And how much trust did it take for her to take God’s directions to cook it, the last food she thought she would ever see. But then God filled the containers with oil. And as my dear brother, Larry Chkoreff says, “She didn’t run out of oil, she ran out of emptiness.” And that is what the kingdom economy is all about. We run out of emptiness and we never run dry. Let it flow!
Finally, we can receive in confidence because God is going to reward those who give. Jesus said store up treasures in heaven. We do this by pouring out in Spirit-led, righteous, obedient acts of love-radical giving! We who are receiving these gifts can join Paul in celebrating the fragrant offering of these gifts and the coming blessing and reward in heaven (Philippians 4:17-19)
I give up the lie that asking people to support God’s projects is mooching. Instead, I embrace the task, placement, calling God has given me even if it needs to be financed by the church (the body of Christ), realizing that there are certain kingdom projects that the world will not agree to finance. I learn to receive when others want to invest in the kingdom and I welcome them as partners, celebrating their coming blessing and reward in heaven (Philippians 4:17-19).
I reject the expectation that I will receive enough to be comfortable. Instead I depend on God to give us what He deems is “enough” for each day, accepting that those who follow Jesus might not even have anywhere to lay their head. I will be content with much or little.
I give up the lie that receiving makes me “less than” and giving makes me “more valuable” to the rest of the kingdom. Instead I will maintain an open hand to give and receive as God give grace to do so every day. I want to be a vessel for Him to use in whatever way He chooses. I will invest in the kingdom whether I am rich or poor, receiving or giving. I will give secretly if possible.
Radical means “extreme and unusual…favoring extreme changes in existing views, habits, conditions, or institutions.” (Merriam-Webster). And in this case, this is what you will be accused of if you go this way—radicalism. But that’s ok. Radical also pertains to the root of an issue. If the love of money is the root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:10), then we must not walk a fine line by holding onto it for our security. Divest yourself of it as fast as you get it. Stay poured out so you can be filled. Take your daily bread and invest the rest in the kingdom. Find out what this looks like. Following Jesus this way is radical, but it is also true and rooted in the scriptures. And you should choose it, not because it’s radical, but because this is what Jesus said to do. It is the way that leads to life. The road is narrow and few choose it. Choosing it makes you a radical only because few choose it, not because you are off-base. God has many people in this city. Come join us!
Wake up Bride of Christ…let’s start flowing and investing in the Kingdom economy. Do you have stories to share about this? How has God invited you into radical reliance, radical giving, or radical receiving. I’d love to see them in the comments!
For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 1 Timothy 6:10
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
QUESTION: Why is money bad? I want to be rich so I can give to others! And what do you have against Dave Ramsey?
I do believe getting out and staying out of debt is really vital because it can trap you and tie you to a lender and not to the will of God (Dave Ramsey really helped us with that bit with the debt snowball concept). But storing up emergency funds, saving for future, and building wealth was never endorsed by Jesus and in fact He said not to do so.
Are you giving to others only after you make yourself secure with plenty to last you? Is your generosity contingent on how much you have? If so, you’ve missed the whole point. You can give and should give to others at anytime, when you are rich or poor. Jesus did allow rich people to give into his ministry (Luke 8:1-3), but he never taught anyone to seek wealth, for any reason. Instead He says very clearly, DO NOT store up for yourselves treasures here. And then Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, 30 who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.” (Mark 10:29-30)
Paul agrees. “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. But as for you, O man of God, flee these things.” (1 Timothy 6:9-11). So we do not need to teach people to build wealth and make it work for them or “for God.” That’s not what Jesus said to do. Instead we need to teach them to “flee from riches” and move toward radical reliance, pursuing righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness and storing up treasures in heaven (1 Timothy 6:12).
QUESTION: So then, does this mean we sit around and sleep all day?
Absolutely not! We get busy with the things of the kingdom. You ask God what He is doing and how you can be a part of it and you listen and GO! His task for you and placement for ministry may actually be a paying job-position. His task for you may be going to minister to the homeless for this season. Follow Him step by step. His provision for you may come through a job opening, a person, a gift, a position, a placement, a skill you enjoy. It really doesn’t matter because it all comes from Him. Ask for what you need and watch creatively for doors of provision. Use what you need with thankfulness and give the rest away. He will give you what you need for each day.
QUESTION: Aren’t we supposed to provide for our family?
Where did you get the idea that it was your job to provide for your family? That is God’s job. The only scripture even close to this is when people are told to provide for their own widowed mothers if they can instead of making the church do it, which is not about the man providing so much as it is about not stealing from the offering plate! (1 Timothy 5:8)
QUESTION: What about planning for the future?
I firmly believe Jesus teaches us that we do not need to be worried about our future. Our definition of what basic provisions are is messed up y’all! We are taught that we need a college savings account, a vacation fund, a car emergency fund, an emergency fund, and a long term savings plan to be “secure.” Jesus never tells us to do any of this. You do not even know what you are going to be doing tomorrow! You know why God does not give us long-term plans for our future? It’s because He knows we cannot handle it. Most of us can’t at least. Long-term plans rarely work out well because we take the wheel and start micromanaging everything and, well, God wants our reliance. Sometimes long-term plans create even worse situations of the soul when they DO seem to work out because then people have built structures like scaffolding around themselves to provide even MORE false security. Then they feel the need to defend themselves for doing so. All the while they never really think they have “enough,” and they budget their generosity like Scrooge. Can I afford to be generous this month? I know this because I used to think this way.
This is the trap of riches. To get out of it, Unpack. Unload. Divest yourself of your riches if you have them. Give generously to the poor and the work of the gospel. Ask Him for daily bread. Listen. Yield. It’s His job to provide for you, not yours.
This means you are free to serve Him. You are free to work for Him. No matter how God chooses to provide for you, you are still supposed to be under the mandate of Jesus and “sent out” to make disciples and baptize them into the Kingdom of God. In any salaried position, you serve God, not the position.
QUESTION: Well we need jobs right?
Many of us will experience God’s provision through a job. But not all. Some will rely on the church to flow resources to accomplish the task God has given them. Either way, your job is the kingdom. You are here now to be united with God by the work of the cross and the Holy Spirit, and out of that place of intimacy with Him, be His hands and feet, bringing the healing and salvation of Jesus to a world who does not know Him. That is your job. Your profession is simply a placement from which you BOLDLY do Kingdom work.
QUESTION: Well sharing Christ needs to happen outside work hours right? Aren’t we supposed to honor those in authority, even our bosses? If I was open about the gospel at work, I would lose my job.
Who told you that you cannot share Christ at work? We can be good workers, helpful and honoring in every other way except when we are told to keep our mouths shut about Jesus. If you are told to stop making disciples at work, then you will have to choose to obey God rather than men.
Need proof? The prophets spoke truth to powerful kings and were persecuted and chased and killed (2 Kings 18-19). Daniel disobeyed a direct order and was sent to the Lion’s den (Daniel 6). Peter and John were imprisoned because they spoke when their governing authorities said to shut up (Acts 5). Steven was stoned by His religious leaders (Acts 6). Why did these men disobey? It was not because they were rebellious, but because their leaders were asking them to disobey God (Acts 5:29). They were slaves to Christ (Romans 1:1). He’s your boss. His business is now your business.
If in your salaried position at your work, you are not allowed to talk about Jesus, pray with/for people, heal people from demonization, or lead people to Him, you need to recognize that you are being asked to disobey God (because God has already told us to do all those things). Your choices are to stay there and work undercover, or leave the position. You should never be quiet or dormant about the kingdom of God only to keep a job position. Sometimes you will be able to stay longer and sometimes you may abruptly lose your source of income. But that is not your actual source of income, God is. He will provide.
What I am trying to say is that you should never allow fear of losing your job keep you from sharing your faith. God will provide for you. Rely on Him. Serve Him, not money. If you lose a job for being bold about Christ, congratulations! You will be rewarded for choosing Christ over financial security. As someone told me. “Remember. It’s just a job.” God will provide for you and place you if you remain available!
QUESTION: What if I live in a creative access country that will limit my job mobility for my beliefs or imprison me for sharing my faith in Christ?
If God is calling you to live in a place where you cannot actively evangelize (share the good news), you still cannot lie about or hide your faith, remember this. Jesus said if you disown me, I will disown you (Matthew 10:33). There is no way around this. Choose Jesus over upward mobility or placements of government status. Our primary job is to announce the good news of kingdom (Matthew 3:2). Everywhere we go our feet are fit with the gospel of peace (Ephesians 6:15), not as the world gives, but as Christ gives (John 14:27). We are ministers of that peace to the world (Matt.5:9). That is our job.
Your allegiance must radically be to Jesus and to His Kingdom. It does not seem to me to be a scripturally-based strategy for anyone to work completely undercover for the Kingdom of God, though we do see Paul and Jesus stealthily escaping capture several times by the leadership of the Holy Spirit. But if you must work within harsh religious climates, you must have some kind of outlet for actively sharing Jesus and building the church—you are not a sleeper agent. You must remain active in sharing Christ or you will lose your fire, your purpose. We see lots of examples of Christians being imprisoned and beaten due their boldness, never denying Christ or ceasing to speak the truth of Jesus because of governing authorities. Be bold in preaching the gospel and bringing others into the Kingdom of God. Living this way means you can honestly say, “What can man do to me?!”
13 People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” 16 And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.
17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’[d]”
20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”
21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”
24 The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is[e] to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
26 The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”
27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”
28 Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!”
29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
THE PARABLE OF THE HIDDEN TREASURE
44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Matthew 13
THE PARABLE OF THE PEARL OF GREAT PRICE
45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, 46 who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it. Matthew 13
OBEYING HIS COMMANDS MEANS THE KINGDOM IS GOING TO LIVE IN YOU BECAUSE GOD WILL MAKE HIS HOME WITH YOU!
15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” 22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” 23 Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and WE WILL COME TO HIM AND MAKE OUR HOME WITH HIM. 24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.