John 11:19 (NKJV) And many of the Jews had joined the women around Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother.
- “The implication is that the many Jews who came to comfort Martha and Mary were from Jerusalem, which in turn suggests that the family was rather prominent. Although comforting the bereaved was almost universally regarded as a religious and social responsibility, not every villager would have been consoled by ‘many’ Jews from the nearby city. The same suggestion of prominence is supported by the expense of the perfume lavished on Jesus by Mary (12:1).” (The Gospel According to John, The Pillar New Testament Commentary, D. A. Carson, page 411)
A careful review of the Gospels shows that Jesus was very comfortable with the subject of money. Bible scholars tell us that Jesus talked more about the subject of money than any other biblical character.
Jesus was also comfortable associating with the wealthy.
For example, the way the apostles are type-casted is often a gross misrepresentation. In contrast to how they are usually described, they were successful business men who owned fishing vessels and had employees. John, at least, even had connections with the High Priest’s family (John 18:15).
Furthermore, Matthew was a wealthy man when Jesus called him (tax-collectors were some of the most wealthy people of that time—think Zacchaeus, Luke 19:1).
Of course, Jesus loved the poor as well, but my point is this: knowing how to relate to both the rich and the poor is vital for a minister of the Gospel who is committed to finishing the great commission.
And on a practical note, just as you must have quality teachers, singers, musicians, and other gifted and talented people if you hope to build a great church, you must also have people of means, with a heart and gift for giving if you hope to build a great church.
To fail to appreciate and intentionally seek out these generous givers is no different than blowing off outstanding musicians/singers, teachers and leaders as insignificant; you’d never think to do that.
It has been my observation that many ministers are more prone to the opposite error than what James warned of in his epistle (James 2). Instead of showing preferential treatment for the wealthy and telling the poor to go sit over there in the corner, many ministers are more prone to celebrate the poor and needy and tell the very people who could help them to go sit in the corner!
The lesson here is that it is not an issue of either/or, it is a question of a wise minister understanding the unique needs and ministry opportunities of both the wealthy and the poor. Over the next few days I will walk us through a few principles to help you better attract, minister too, and equip people of means for to partner with you in fulfilling the assignment that Jesus has given you.
Romans 12:5-8 (NASB)
5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6 Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: …8he who gives, with liberality…