"Not that I speak in respect of want ..." Philippians 4:11
It is noteworthy that Paul never made his own
financial needs known. His was a life of faith. He believed that God
had called him into His service, and was utterly convinced that God
pays for what He orders.
Should Christians today publicize their needs or
beg for money? Here are a few considerations: There is no Scriptural
justification for this practice. The apostles made known the needs of
others, but never asked for money for themselves.
It seems more consistent with the life of faith
to look to God alone. He will provide the needed funds for anything he
wants us to do. When we see Him providing in just the right amount at
just the right time, our faith is greatly strengthened. And He is
greatly glorified when the provision is undeniably miraculous. On the
other hand, He does not get the credit when we manipulate our own
finances through clever fund-raising techniques.
By using appeals and solicitation, we can carry
on works "for God" that might not be His will at all. Or we can
perpetuate a work long after the Spirit has departed from it. But when
we are dependent on His supernatural provision, we can continue only as
long as He supplies.
High-pressure solicitation introduces a new way
of measuring success in Christian work. The one who is most clever in
public relations is the one who gets the most money. It may be that
worthy works suffer because the fund campaigns siphon off the money.
This often gives rise to jealousy and disunity.
C. H. Mackintosh took a dim view of publicizing
one's own personal needs. "To make known my wants, directly or
indirectly, to a human being is departure from the life of faith, and a
positive dishonor to God. It is actually betraying Him. It is
tantamount to saying that God has failed me, and I must look to my
fellow for help. It is forsaking the living fountain and turning to a
broken cistern. It is placing the creature between my soul and God,
thus robbing my soul of rich blessing, and God of the glory due to Him."
In similar vein, Corrie Ten Boom wrote in Tramp
for the Lord, "I would much rather be a trusting child of a rich
Father, than a beggar at the door of worldly men."