BOOK TITLE: TAPPING GOD’S RESOURCES FOR LIFE AND MINISTRY
By Bro Gbile Akanni
Book Review by Sis Chizoba Chendo
One of the greatest challenges everyone in the ministry today faces is finances; how do we raise provisions for the work? Many are in the ministry today who know nothing about God’s standards and methods for securing resources. Many people use different methods ranging from pledges to bazaars but success at raising funds is not an indication of God’s approval. Who goeth a warfare anytime at his own charges – the author pulls out the biblical question of I Corinthians 9: 7 and he simply states ‘God’s work done in God’s own way can never lack divine supply’. A good understanding of God’s principles for doing and funding his work is therefore critical to understanding how to tap resources for ministry and this is what Bro Gbile undertakes to deal with as he leads us to understand God`s concept of ministry in this book.
Ministry is simply an assignment or task that the Lord has given a person to do as He sees it fit. God’s way of judging a man as successful is not based on results but on faithfulness; has this man done what He asked him to do the way He told him to do it? No matter how fruitful you are or how wonderful your projects are, if you are not faithful, you are not successful. A wrong concept could lead one to the rat race of looking for big funds anyhow and anywhere to do big works. Ministry is not a platform for personal achievements. It is not an independent exclusive property of any individual even if that individual was used to start the work. In God’s arrangement, ministry is not competitive or comparative but cooperative and complementary. No single minister is made to be self-sufficient. God crafted each person’s contribution to interlock and dovetail into another’s. — I have planted, Apollos watered but God gave the increase —. If one misses this understanding, He cannot arrive at the type of labour the early apostles had.
In the book of Numbers, God gave clear instructions on who qualifies to be numbered into the army. The Levite families also had clear boundaries and definitions of what they were to do at the temple. No one did anything at will. You must be assigned a space and a labour. This speaks to the nature of God’s work. God is definite about the kind of person that will have an integral part in his work. Although there is the liberty of the spirit, it does not imply disarray. No one is allowed to do whatever he likes at any time. Each person must be careful to find out the service and boundaries allotted to his or her life. We bring death into the pot when we cross our own boundaries of grace.
For every assignment that you are commanded by God to do, there is already a sufficient provision in God’s store for it. God is definitely not going to borrow to service his project. Unless you have a clear revelation of how God funds his work, you will endlessly struggle, running around wealthy people. This will rub you of the flow from the divine store opened in heaven for you. God is not like the Egyptian taskmasters who will put men to work without giving them the needed materials. Even for you, the worker, walking in his plan and purpose there is sufficient to meet the needs of your life. The labourer is worthy of his meat. Any worker who over emphasizes and cries on the pulpit about his needs only shows that something is amiss somewhere either with him or with the work. You are not to be kept by sympathy offering.
Resources for the work are not only monetary, but they also include human resources and to tap whatever you need appropriately, one must maintain the right attitude towards their availability or non-availability. Contentment is not automatic, it has to be learnt. Anyone without it will always be in want. Our joy must be in the Lord and not in the things he gives us. We must not come under pressure or depression in times of need. Worrying may appear useful but it is actually a killer. It will not allow you to wait on God. Instead, we must pray about everything. Prayer is the access to the throne of grace. Along with the faith to receive, we must also be armed with a good conscience with which we judge the correctness of our actions in line with the standards of God’s word. Without this, we will make a shipwreck of our faith.
Receiving offerings according to the biblical pattern is very crucial if the work will not be bastardized. In both the old and new testaments, offerings were tied to purposes and were commissioned by God before they were taken.it is not compulsory to do it every Sunday. In all cases, God must be seen as the provider. He only chooses channels and vehicles as he deems fit. The first vehicles He commissioned for Elijah’s provision at the brook was ravens. Whereas there were several rich widows in Israel at that time, God chose the poor widow of Zarephath to provide for Elijah. When it comes to offering, God allows people to exercise their basic will. People are never to be forced, induced or threatened. God’s pattern is to receive from men and women whose hearts have been stirred by the Holy Spirit. Coarsing people rubs the Holy Spirit of the space to stir men by Himself. Actually, many do this because they don’t believe the Holy Spirit’s stirring alone can do the job.
It is not every offering that God accepts. God considers a man’s life before considering his offering, his character before his charisma and obedience before his sacrifice. The size of the offering is never the issue. The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to Him. If they must bring anything to the altar, it must be their hearts first. Pastors may collect wrong offerings from men but God would not. Open heavens over a man’s life will usually open men’s purses to him, but one must be careful to discern whom to receive from. Many have spoilt their lives, work and consecration by indiscriminately falling on the spoils. Elisha would receive from the Shunamite woman but not from Naaman. Balaam was reduced from a prophet to a soothsayer as he ran after the reward of divination. Achaan also lost his life by the spoils from Jericho.
It is one thing to learn to receive resources from the Lord; it is another to be a steward of God’s resources. There were clear instructions for handling all the offerings they brought to the altar in the Old Testament. Every recourse God sends to our lives is first and foremost a free gift of grace which must be adequately managed and accounted for. Recourses are supplied to meet needs and not for establishing ourselves or our status hence the need to understand God’s perspective in whatever He releases to our hands. Even when supplies appear like an excess, it may be that it contains the seed for further planting. The rich fool’s error was in not understanding God’s essence for his bountiful yield. Faithfulness in handling the first consignment of his provisions to us qualifies us for greater portions.
TAPPING GOD’S RESOURCES FOR LIFE AND MINISTRY is really a tough challenge and a goad to our faith, especially as its instructions, are radically different from the popular precepts of today. Like the most Revd. B. A Kwashi who wrote the forward said; the top question is often not “what is God saying?” but “How much do we have or what can we raise?” I also agree with him that the book is written in a style which is easy to read yet the content demands slow and prayerful consideration, together with an honest assessment of our lives and the work which may be difficult and even painful to do. It will take a total rejection of pride and of seeking personal gain or status. I believe that anyone genuinely seeking God’s own pattern of ministry cannot turn away from the principles shared in this book. The author shares more than enough testimonies that show these principles to have been proved in his life, family and work of God in his hands.