— 18 —
Why are preachers and ministries
always after everybody's money?

This is not the case with all. Again, we must avoid the trap of stereotyping ministers. Obviously there are operating costs and expenses to maintain any ministry, and there are many Christian organizations which deal with the issue of offerings and fund raising very graciously and admirably.

We can empathize with those who may have a negative attitude. Every American already knows what it is to wade through bushels of junk mail jammed in their mailbox daily, and Christian people are especially inundated with appeals for money. Most Christian programs on TV or radio spend a lot of attention on heart-wrenching pleas for offerings, and if you subscribe to Christian periodicals or send donations to various radio or TV ministers, you're probably used to receiving their numerous monthly appeal letters. In addition, your name and address has likely been passed on to other ministries or charities, seeking eligible contributors. We then go to church and give our tithes and offerings to the Lord, but may hear more appeals for other worthwhile projects: the building program, local evangelism, the support of missionaries, the youth group, the poor, the needy, etc. Gimmee, gimmee, gimmee. It seems to never stop.

It's not surprising why people have become weary with constant appeals for money — we really can't blame them. But at the same time, we must be careful not to become critical and abandon the spreading of the Gospel because of the abuses of a few. It is crucial that the message of Jesus Christ be delivered to the world. It is a matter of their life or death! "Let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death..." (James 5:20).

Many become offended by ministries who appeal for financial support because they simply don't understand how important it is for the message of the Gospel to reach the masses, and how costly that can be. You see, the Bible says that our world is lost in sin, destined to burn for eternity in hell, and only the Gospel can avert this tragedy. The Lord is... "not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance" (2 Pet 3:9).

Out of His love for us, God sent His own son, Jesus, as a remedy for the terminal illness of sin. Persons can be spared the endless eternal suffering, and spend eternity in Heaven, only if they place their faith in Christ's substitutionary death for their own sins and make him Lord of their lives. The Bible says that Jesus Christ is the only way that anyone can ever escape the horrible judgment of the lake of fire. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6).

Furthermore, the gospel of Jesus Christ is the only cure for this world's problems. The daily newspaper headlines express despair and hopelessness over the ravages of drugs, alcoholism, child abuse, crime, immorality, wars, corruption, and incurable diseases. A relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ is the only thing which will change the wicked hearts of men, give them goodness and happiness, and provide victory over the deceptions of the Devil (John 10:10).

But Christ cannot save the lives of those who have never heard about Him. And just how will they hear, if ever? Will it be by a missionary which we supported to cross the ocean to tell them? Will they hear by a radio or TV broadcast which we helped to sponsor? Will it be in a church that we helped build with our contributions? Will it be by printed tracts, books, or Bibles which we donated money to help print? Souls will never be saved unless they hear about Christ, and as we can see, there are no free ways of doing that. Salvation is a free gift, but it costs money to take the message of salvation to the world.

How much value do we place on a human life? If our local fire department needs more money to obtain men and equipment to fight fires and save lives, do we gripe and complain about that? Would we criticize our hospitals who seek funds to expand emergency facilities or buy more ambulances? Do we ridicule those who raise funds to find cures for cancer or other terminal illnesses? Of course not! Because most of us realize the precious value of one life. But as important as it is to save a human life, it cannot even compare to the tremendous importance of saving a soul from eternal death!

Whatever you do, don't ever close your heart from giving to help save souls from death! Rather, be a good steward over the finances that God has given you. Always be faithful in giving your tithes to your local church, and use wisdom when selecting and supporting ministries outside your own congregation.

Here are some suggested guidelines that might help in developing good habits of giving toward God's work:

(1) Establish a "budget." Determine what you can afford to give to other ministries, after you've given tithes to your local church. Budgeting is very biblical. Jesus taught us to "count the cost," not to overextend ourselves. (Luke 14:28-29).

(2) Look for ministries with a proven track-record. Seek for evidence of sound beliefs, "spiritual fruit," and a primary concern to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

(3) Don't be an impulsive contributor. Don't give to every touching appeal that comes your way. Be led of the Spirit in your giving — learn to know the difference between being affected emotionally, and being led spiritually. Pray first, and ask the Lord whether it's His will for you to support them. Ask your pastor for counsel or advice.

(4) Do your homework. Check up on ministries and see if they're doing what they claim. Ask them to send you financial statements and reports of their ministry progress.

(5) Make commitments carefully. Don't make promises you can't keep, and keep the ones you make.

(6) Keep your offering private between you and God. Don't give to make an impression on people, to gain influence or favor (Matt. 6:1-4).

(7) Don't keep strings attached to your gift. When you give to the Lord, release the gift. Don't be possessive about your offering — it's not yours anymore.

(8) Give to God, not to man. Always be sure that, in your heart, you know that your donation is to God, not just to a preacher or a ministry. Give to God in faith, trusting Him to bring a return for your faithfulness to Him. Even if the preacher proves to be a fake, you will never lose your reward if your gifts have been given to God.

(9) Learn to say "no." Christians obviously cannot be expected to give or support every ministry or cause, regardless of how worthy they all may be. Believers must learn that "no" can be a nice Christian word. We don't have to get mad at ministries or become offended at their appeals. Just smile and say "no."

This article is from the book, What People Ask About the Church, authored and copyrighted © by Dr. Dale A. Robbins, 1990-2015, and is a publication of Victorious Publications, Grass Valley, CA - Nashville, TN. Unless otherwise stated, all scripture references were taken from The New King James Bible, © Thomas Nelson Inc., 1982. You may download this article for personal use as long as you retain credit to the author. Obtain permission before reproducing copies for any reason, by filling out our simple permission form. Many of our writings are also available as free pdf tri-fold pamphlets, which can be downloaded for reproduction from our Online Catalog. For media reproduction rights, or to obtain quantities of this title in other formats, email us.