"And He said to them, 'When I sent you without money bag, knapsack, and sandals, did you lack anything?' So they said, 'Nothing.' Then He said to them, 'But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one'" (Luke 22:35-36, NKJV).
Shabbat shalom kol beit Yisra'el!
There are many Christian and Messianic leaders who, reading this passage, get it into their heads that they have some special kind of economic entitlement from those they serve. Part of the problem is that many of these leaders were never called by Yahweh in the first place but have, rather, called themselves. Were it possible, it would be interesting, for example, to make a headcount of how many people there now are who call themselves 'apostles' or 'evangelists'...and now, increasingly, 'messianic rabbis'.
There can be no doubt in reading passages like today's that Yah'shua (Jesus) did indeed send out apostles in the manner described in the first part of today's scripture. But also, in the same passage, there is a noticeable change in policy. At first they were told to take nothing but to trust in the supernatural sustenance of Elohim (God). The original 72 (some versions say 70) were indeed told to take nothing and as part of the commission they were to perform miracles, healings and deliverances from demons whilst they were preaching. That Yahweh was with them in some special way was all too obvious and undeniable, even to the most hardened sceptic. However, this was a specific task for the 72, the likes of whom we encounter very rarely today. And quite possibly one of their tasks was to show us what the remnant 144,000 would be doing when their turn comes in the last days.
In the second part of today's passage we are told that this policy would now change...and all whilst Yah'shua (Jesus) was alive - this wasn't some erroneous post-resurrection policy of the apostles. Now the Twelve were required to plan ahead and make sure they not only had provisions but also protection. They were told to fend for themselves and to earn and carry money with them. Is there any evidence that this was so in apostolic times? Definitely. The apostle Paul took his business with him: tent-making (some say, saddle-making - Ac.18:23). And rather than impose on anyone who did not feel moved or directed to support him financially, he worked a regular trade.
One of the reasons there are so many counterfeit and temporary miracles amongst many ministers (or no miracles at all) is because Yahweh never called them, and He certainly never called them to demand money. There are far too many evangelicals and messianics who believe they have the right to go around permanently like the first apostles and 72 special evangelists did so temporarily. Far too many ministers presumptuosly suppose they are specially called like these first emmissaries, go out "in faith", and then expect to be supported financially for their 'faith'. Even though they don't have remotely enough financial resources to live off, they decide they are going to preach the Gospel or become full-time travelling Torah-teachers or just sit at home and write book after book detailing 'essential truths'. And whilst some may give away free Bibles or books and tracts they or others have authored, most of them actually charge for them anyway, repeating Yah'shua's (Jesus') words in self-justification: "Freely you have received, freely give" (Matt.10:8, NKJV). In other words, 'I have worked hard for you, now pay me!'
These uncalled, lazy, exploitative ministers forget that the people they expect money from have their own food, rent, utility and other bills to pay too, and that some if not most of them are struggling to survive in these hard times. Many have lost their homes because of foreclosure. Many are hungry. So when these uncalled ministers' bills start piling up without any kind of supernatural provision, they start to shamefully beg for donations in order that 'God's work' can continue. And when the money still doesn't come in, they start guilting their followers, reminding them of all they are doing for them.
You NEVER see ANYONE in the Bible begging for the provisions of Yahweh's work - EVER! There is no precendent for this modus operandi. In fact, what does the Bible say about such activity?
George Müller, the Prussian who founded orphanages in England, understood this and never asked for a penny but relied on Yahweh's providence. He didn't even tell people what his and his orphans' needs were. And the evidence that he was called was the fact that Yahweh provided for him - just enough and often at the last minute.
"Let his children continually be vagabonds, and beg; let them seek their bread also from their desolate places" (Ps.109:10, NKJV).
"I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread" (Ps.37:25, NKJV).
Can't afford a church building or assembly hall? May be you should sell it and start house churches or cell groups... or get something less ostentatious and less expensive, or rent. Meet in each other's homes! When I bought my last and current home I was determined that it would be large enough so that we could have a meeting room there, without extra cost. So Yahweh gave me an old school where we have a permanent meeting room! The first room we dedicated and set up ready for use was the assembly room!
You'd be surprised how much you can economise when you finally understand that Yahweh expects His people to live simply and frugally. So to all those ministers in dire straits begging their congregations for money, I have only one thing to tell them: Get off your asses and get a job like Paul! Live simply.
Ministers who have too high an opinion of themselves and their indispensibility need to come down from their ivory towers. Yah'shua (Jesus) never told us to freeload off others nor to beg for money for 'God's work'. This surely is a very good reason for us to be careful about not taking parts of the Bible out of context and applying them to ourselves.
When I was a pastor with oversight over a number of congregations in Norway many years ago I had a full time job requiring a long commute, getting up at 5 a.m. and not getting home until 6 p.m. To make sure I had time for ministerial work and my large family, I arranged with my employer to work a four day week for as long as I could. Because we were not a numerous people, and there was little surplass income to support evangelism, my family's combined income supported most of work of the ministry. I never had a salary as a minister and never expected one as it has always been my understanding of Scripture that a minister should not be an unnecessary burden on his congregation. Only very latterly, when ill-health forced me into premature retirement and a tiny state pension, did we occasionally solicit for help on a voluntary basis when we could not make ends meet. We created a page on our website detailing our needs but never wrote to people asking for money. We never went begging or nagging our people week in and week out as some do even when we were freezing because we couldn't afford heating. We trusted Yahweh to move people who desired to help.
It is right that a minister of a large congregation whose pastoral services are in much demand from many and who cannot devote himself to a full-time job, receive support from his congregation. Ministers should live simply and not be a burden on their people nor should they suppose that it is their 'right' to be paid a salary. Torah stipulates that of the 10% increase of our wealth that belongs de jure to Yahweh, a third belongs to the poor (to be paid as moved by the Ruach/Spirit according to each individual's conscience), a third should be used to finance the seven annual festivals (especially the three at which we are supposed to congregate with others - Pesach, Shavu'ot and Sukkot - for travel, food and accomodation), and a third is to be used for the support of the ministry.
If the House of Yahweh is to be purified, it must begin with the ministers who must lead by example. The Body of Messiah is a cooperative family, all sharing the burdens of one another. Pastors should be working men like their congregation. They are not supposed to go around in expensive Armani suits like rich businessmen but be men of the people - shepherds like David, not spoiled brats like Solomon. When we hired our first meeting hall in Oslo back in the late 1980's, the first job I did as a young pastor was clean the toilet and serve tables at lunch. We are, first of all, servants, not kings. When Yah'shua (Jesus) washed the feet of His talmidim (disciples), He did not mean for us to have a fancy ordinance to make us look humble, but for His ministers to be prepared to do the most menial work if required. A minister who thinks he is entitled to special treatment is a false one, and lacks the true lev (heart) of one of Yahweh's own.
For those men who make the ministry a career this vision of servanthood is not appealing because at least part of their drive is the flesh, however brilliant or gifted they may be as a pastor, teacher or evangelist. In the end, they are either brought to repentance or they are exposed for who they really are and dismissed.
A congregation walking in scriptural tavnith (pattern) will naturally want to take care of a right-spirited man as one of the family, and that is how it is supposed to be too.
It is a privilege for all to serve and to share the burdens.
Comments from readers
 "A most excellent article! I truly never heard anyone outline how the 10% tithe was to be divided up in such an easy way to understand" (DL, USA, 17 September 2011)
 "Very good sermon brother Chris" (RF, USA, 28 May 2015)
 "Read with so much delight especially where you broke the purpose of the 10% into 3" (SS, USA, 28 May 2015)