Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 34:6
Read the “0108 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“And Abraham bowed down himself before the people of the land. And he spake unto Ephron in the audience of the people of the land, saying, But if thou wilt give it, I pray thee, hear me: I will give thee money for the field; take it of me, and I will bury my dead there.”(Genesis 23:12-13)
“And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth, That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich:” (Genesis 14:22-23)
“And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing. So David bought the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.” (2 Samuel 24:24)
“I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel. Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:33-35)
My thought this morning may be a little strange, but I noticed in our reading today that Abraham was offered several times a place to bury his wife Sarah at no cost to him, but he refused to take it unless he paid for it. Back in Genesis 14, we see a similar situation. Abraham and his servants had helped save the citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah after they had been conquered and taken captive. The kings of the cities that Abraham helped offered to give Abraham money and possessions for his help, but Abraham refused them also.
In chapter 24, we again see Abraham’s servant giving valuable gifts to Rebekah and her family. He doesn’t negotiate with them to get a better deal. He is very generous:
“And the servant brought forth jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment, and gave them to Rebekah: he gave also to her brother and to her mother precious things.” (Genesis 24:53)
In 2 Samuel 24, David was offered the threshing floor of Araunah along with the oxen necessary for a sacrifice, but David refused him also, insisting that he pay money for those things.
Paul also was very reluctant to take anything from people, as can be seen in the above reference from Acts 20.
All three of these men of God were very careful in their financial dealings with people. They didn’t accept any gifts from people who might be giving gifts with strings attached to them. These men wanted to be sure that people understood that God was the supplier of their needs, not men.
I too am very uncomfortable receiving gifts from people, perhaps because of a pride issue, which is also wrong; but I think all too many servants of God are too willing to accept gifts from people, even going to the extreme of constantly asking people for things. Ministers often have a bad reputation in this world for being covetous and greedy, and unfortunately in some cases this is not unjustified. Too many preachers I know are very slow to reach into their pockets and pay for things themselves; they always let somebody else pick up the tab. Ministers today need to be very careful to remember that it is God who supplies our needs, not people. The Bible says, “And thou shalt take no gift: for the gift blindeth the wise, and perverteth the words of the righteous.” (Exodus 23:8).
We who minister today need to make sure that the people know that we are not merely hirelings who do what we do only for what we can get. We need to improve our reputation by being givers, not takers.
Posted in Thoughts from Genesis by Phil Erickson with 4 comments.