Date: Sunday, 24 January 2021
Supporting God’s Servants
By Abraham Verghese
Passage — Luke 8:1-3
- Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him,
- and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out,
- and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s household manager, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for ( KJV – ministered unto ) them out of their means ( KJV – substance ).
In verse 3 we are reminded of a seldom-noted aspect of Jesus’ ministry: several women ( the phrase“ many others” and the relative pronoun “who” are both feminine in Greek ) helped to sup-port Jesus and the twelve disciples out of their own means. In other words, with their own money they helped to take care of food, clothing, shelter, and other incidental expenses.
Jesus had been a carpenter ( builder ), and some of the twelve disciples had been fishermen. But they left their employment when they began their traveling ministry.
In Matthew 8 : 20 Jesus is recorded as saying , “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” . He didn’t own furniture or a cozy little bunga-low. He and the twelve disciples depended on the generosity of people like Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Susanna.
A few centuries earlier as recorded in 1 Kings 17 we read about , a widow in Zarephath who provided the prophet Elijah with an upper room in her house and food to eat each day —and the Lord supplied all her needs. In 2 Kings 4 it is recorded that a well-to-do woman in Shunem and her husband made a room for Elisha on the roof of their home, and they put a bed, table, and chair in it so he had a place to stay when he was in the area . The actions of the widow in Zarephath and the well-to-do woman in Shunem may not seem like great deeds but then would have been deeds that both Elijah and Elisha would have appreciated considering the challenges they faced.
Though Jesus’ earthly ministry was directed primarily to the “poor” ( Luke 4 : 18 ) , some of the wealthy and powerful supported and welcomed the ministry. Verse 3 is interesting as it throws light on the means of livelihood possessed by Jesus and His Apostles. They had a common purse which sufficed not only for their own needs but for those of the poor (John 13 : 29). The Apostles had absolutely forsaken their daily callings, though some of them (like Matthew and the sons of the wealthier fisherman Zebedee) may have had some small resources of their own, and here we see that these women, some of whom (as tradition says of Mary of Magdala) were rich, helped to maintain them.
In ancient Israel under Mosaic law , tithes were collected to support the Levitical priesthood.
God’s servants in our present era ( pastors , missionaries all other church workers , including those serving in various administrative , technical and other non pastoral related support services ) on full time or even part time basis need the support of Christians who provide out of their means or sub-stance – all blessings from God .
1 Chronicles 29 : 14 “But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer will-ingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you.”
All the good things we have are gifts from God ( James 1 : 17 ).
What can you share ( or better worded “ give back” ) to help in the service of God’s kingdom?
Heavenly Father , we know there is nothing that we have that we obtained on our own. It’s all Yours. Help us to have open hands for You to give and take as You please. Increase our faith.
Everything belongs to You.
耶稣曾是木匠（建筑工人），十二门徒中有一些是渔夫。但当他们开始了游走的服侍，他们便放下了手上的工作。 在马太福音8：20，耶稣说：“狐狸有洞，天空的飞鸟有窝，人子却没有枕头的地方。” 他没有家具，也没有舒适的小平房。他和十二门徒靠的是抹大拉的马利亚，约亚拿和苏撒拿的慷慨解囊。