I have come to suspect that there is a disconcerting mercantile imbalance in the spiritual war between the kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness. Our side sometimes seems to be underfunded.
If an economic discrepancy is observed, surely it would be in our favor? Our army of missionaries and evangelists and church planters is fighting for the fame and sovereignty and dominion of the One who owns all the cattle on a thousand hills and to whom all the silver and gold in existence belongs. And yet, the inexplicable reality apparent to any casual observer is that too many of the skirmishes seem to be more lavishly supported on the enemy’s side.
I’m convinced the reason for this economic discrepancy is due to a subtle sabotage of our supply lines. The problem is not the paucity of recourses to which our people have access. It can’t possibly be that Satan has deeper pockets than God. The issue must be that our supply line is starved by our own tight-fistedness.
To put it bluntly: Satan always finances the lie; but God’s funding of his cause gets mismanaged by his stewards.
Consider this revealing evidence:
- When the Roman soldiers reported to the Pharisees who crucified Jesus that an angel had appeared at the tomb, they fed the legionnaires a lie that the disciples had grave-snatched the body, and then they financed the lie with cash (Matt 28:11-13).
- When Balaam was asked by King Balak to preach a false message in order to give his forces the upper hand in battle, he offered to make the prophet profitable to the point of much cash and honor (Num 22:16-17).
- The demon possessed girl brought her masters much profit, since the demon was obviously helping her clairvoyance to deceive people (Acts 16:16).
- Of course there’s Judas who was given thirty pieces of silver to incentivize his deceptive treason of the Master (Matt 26:15).
Now consider the cause of the gospel in the early days of the church.
- Ananias and Sapphira couldn’t bring themselves to give all their real estate profit to the work of the church, but still wanted the prestige (Acts 5:1-5).
- Peter and John encountered a beggar and didn’t have any spare change for the guy (Acts 3:6). Okay, so that time came with a silver lining because they healed him of paralysis, but still, it’s notable that two apostles of Jesus had no money between them.
- Paul commended the already strapped for cash Philippian church for its generosity, which filled a gap left by churches with plumper coffers who mysteriously had not given any aid to his indisputably significant missionary journeys (Phil 4:15).
By now surely the trend should have reversed? There are countless wealthy Christians in the world. When God puts money in the pockets of his stewards, the idea is that they channel much of that resource to the kingdom work. Instead, it seems the supply line gets clogged up. The funding gets used up on feathering the nest of the stewards.
And what is most embarrassing is that the spread of error appears to have no such hindrance. Been to Utah lately? The stronghold of Mormonism is peppered with opulent edifices, plated with gold. Islam doesn’t suffer a shortage of anything, despite the slipping oil price. The deleterious health, wealth, and prosperity movement in Africa channels untold riches into the spread of that malfeasance by financing sundry Lear Jets, stadium hire, and unlimited TV airtime. Time would fail to tell of Hollywood’s fortunes that fund a relentless exporting of the rancor of secularism and worldliness.
Then I see pastors of solid biblical churches eking out a meager existence, their preaching conferences get cancelled due to lack of funding, and their seminary students have to go into debt to afford studies for the ministry.
I’m not sure what the solution is, perhaps you can help with that. I’m just burdened that the battlefield isn’t level; it’s sloped in favor of the propagation of error while the delivery of truth is an uphill battle. Is this as a result of the sin of Christians who use their God-given money for their own pleasure and not for God’s ministry, or is this God’s way of keeping his faithful servants humble and dependent on him so that God is seen as faithful and all the more glorious? Or both?