Do you follow my teaching to support your church financially? Does it bother you to do this if the pastor has a higher standard of living than you do? I also teach you to help the poor. Do you think these should be the same thing? Both are worthy activities, but do not confuse the support of my servants with aid to the poor. In Old Testament times these were separate offerings. To link these concepts implies that the pastor should be the poorest person in church. I want you to be a cheerful giver, and to understand that you are really giving to me. You should definitely link these concepts together, and give generously.
I have posted these messages for years without much reference to myself. Reading a blog posting from a friend made me realize that I should issue a disclaimer. I hope that you don’t get the impression that my life is a living expression of these words I hear from Jesus. I wish it were but in reality I too am in tension between the righteousness I affirm and the reality of my life which includes weakness, selfishness, thoughtlessness, lust, and greed. I can identify with Paul when he says the good that I would I do not and the evil I would not I do. Through this I trust in Jesus who is in the process of delivering me and completing the good work he has begun in me.