Where the harvest is ripe and workers (and resources) are few

Should we seek where we can get the biggest bang for the buck (abundant lasting fruit) as Jesus taught in the Parable of the Minas and Talents?  Or will we remain stuck in Jerusalem, with all of God’s resources?

In 2002 our business was going great, which afforded me and other owners and pastors the opportunity to help disciple leaders around the world through the work of Equip, founded by Dr. John Maxwell. I grew a heart for all people created in God’s image, in the many nations where I taught. Soon thereafter business troubles ensued, and although I’m not a prosperity gospel fan, I’m not the opposite either. In the midst of a record long arbitration, I came across some research, while I was asking God “why” about the injustice I had personally experienced, and “what” now?

God was about to bring me face to face with eternal injustice that far outweighed my personal situation, and to a Kingdom investment with unbelievable return.

The research exposed that 97% of all Christian giving is used to minister to Christian Nations, and only 1/3 of 1% was making it to the lost nations of the world. Even more concerning was the discovery that many of the spiritually poor, frontier-mission nations receiving this minimal investment (1/3 of 1% of our Kingdom giving), were 3,000 times more fruitful overall!

In the market place we have a saying for people who use resources like this, it’s

You’re fired!

In the Parable of the Talents, (Matthew 25:14-30), we learn that Jesus does care about results, (often called fruit). This resonates with me and most market place Christians. There are many parables, verses and passages which show the responsibility that comes along with being wealthy. It was not FDR, Churchill, Gates or even the writers of Spider Man who first said “with great power (or wealth) comes great responsibility”. It was Jesus Christ paraphrased from Luke 12:48.

In 2012 the median household income of Americans was $51,017, placing us in the world’s 1% wealthiest group. The more I searched God’s Word, the even greater responsibility I felt as I had been entrusted with two, three and even several times more than this.

The numbers matter, because people matter to God. So what did I feel that I, and every marketplace believer needed to do with their blessings? We needed to discover where we could invest in fruit, good abundant lasting fruit “Where the harvest is ripe and workers (and resources) are few” and conversely do NOT foolishly store it “where moth, rust (and market fluctuations) can destroy”. Did I really need to discover this in the exhaustive 952 page, World Christian Trend research completed by Dr. David Barret and Dr. Todd Johnson, who collaborated with over 400 leading church and ministry leaders including Ralph Winter and Paul Eshleman?  No. I could have just been obedient to God’s word to begin with, such as the Great Commission, Jesus most dramatic last words in Acts 1:8, or in his example, as He “came to preach the good news to the poor”.

Two years ago, with my eyes opened, and with this new burning passion, I had the privilege of founding and launching ROI Ministry with a great team of marketplace believers who share the same vision. This ministry does not seek, solicit or receive any support, but attempts to uncover the Top 10 Great Commission ministries based on their historical and measurable results per dollar invested.

My challenge to you as marketplace and ministry leaders is to be shrewd with your investment of God’s resources, and to dramatically increase the allocation of your portfolio funds to predominately poor  unengaged, unreached people groups of the world, where

3,000 X returns exist today, until such time that this fund is closed and Jesus comes back.

God has helped me to financially “restore the years the locust ate,” and my prayer to you as “men and women of Issachar” is to “not build up larger storehouses” (401k, larger homes, nicer cars, boats, planes etc.) as the fool did who “laid up treasure for himself, and (was) not rich toward God” in Luke 12:18-21. But to be rich, be rich, be rich but only if it’s predominately where it matters most!

Mr. Barker serves as a manager for URS Corporation, a leading provider of engineering, construction, and technical services for public agencies and private sector companies around the world.

FROM RESENT POST ON http://issacharinitiative.org/harvest-ripe-workers-resources/

 

God's Word Just for the Rich

Check out the very specific verses to the rich. You could say that God is serious about our part in His plan for the world. Money in part provides freedom and power, and  “with great power comes great responsibility.” Spiderman was not the first to say this; the same idea is seen in God’s word:

Luke 12:48b: “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”

Love of Money

1 Tim. 6:9-10: People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

In the Lap of Luxury

James 5:1-6: Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you.

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Show Me the Money

Malachi 3:8-10a: “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob Me. But you ask, ‘How do we rob You?’ In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—the whole nation of you—because you are robbing Me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house.”

Guilt is a terrible long-term motivator, and eROI one-percenters hardly think of Malachi 3:8. Why? It’s because eROI one-percenters give more to God’s Kingdom than the minimal tithe amount, and as such are hugely motivated to give more because they have tested God as instructed in this verse below.

Malachi 3:10b-12: “Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit,” says the LORD Almighty. “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the LORD Almighty.

We have tried to find people who tested God in this and proved Malachi 3:10b-12 false. If you or someone you know has faithfully tithed their first 10% gross to a biblically-sound church for several years but has not been richly blessed to do even greater things, please have them contact us today. It will be the first such case if you do. We are just that sure on this one, that He will “throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing.”

Your heart always follows your treasure, whether it’s your portfolio, home, car, or hobbies.

Matthew 6:21: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

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Old and New Testament Blessings

Just because something is found in the Old Testament does not mean it has no application to us today. Based on this logic, we would end up throwing out the concept of the tithe due to its lack of New Testament repetition or references. Jesus said He was not taking one word away from the Law. The reality is, Jesus did not make the Law easier or the tithe less. After all, where the Commandments said “Don’t do this or you will be guilty,” Jesus said that even thinking about wrongdoing makes a person guilty. He never said we are not to tithe, and the amount is not up to 20 or 30%; in the New Testament it was set at 100%. Jesus paid the price for us and He wants it all, and it is our challenge to use it all to glorify Him in the best ways we can with every area of our lives. Your local church is only asking for a 10% tithe, as they bless you and your family and your local neighbors. That’s great news, as you then have 90% left over to serve God in other ways! Look what happens to those who trust the Lord with everything. If you become an E-ROI ministry “one-percenter,” we will introduce you to many who are living these verses below. (A “one-percenter” refers to those who earn $50,000 or more per year, which is 99% more income than the rest of the world’s population.)

Psalm 84:11: For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does He withhold from those whose walk is blameless.

Proverbs 8:17-21: I love those who love Me, and those who seek Me find Me. With Me are riches and honor, enduring wealth and prosperity. My fruit is better than fine gold; what I yield surpasses choice silver. I walk in the way of righteousness, along the paths of justice, bestowing wealth on those who love Me and making their treasuries full.

Proverbs 10:22: The blessing of the LORD brings wealth, and He adds no trouble to it.

Proverbs 14:32: When calamity comes, the wicked are brought down, but even in death the righteous have a refuge.

Matthew 6:33: “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Note that here in the New Testament, the only things promised in this life are “all these things” – that is, food and clothes; everything else is a bonus.)
“God’s work, done in God’s way, will never lack God’s resources.” – Hudson Taylor

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False Gods and False Prophets’ Rewards

One of the reasons that the concept of seeking rewards is rarely preached is that the enemy has perverted the truth, resulting in preachers who make false promises that an investment in their ministry will bring about a hundred-fold reward and blessings. Others who are clearly following false gods and prophets blow up abortion clinics, strap bombs to their backs or fly planes into occupied buildings, actions often based on delusional versions of right and wrong, or beliefs in false promises and rewards (such as receiving 50 virgins in heaven). Christians’ rewards are never about taking others’ lives, but always about the giving of ourselves to others.

The notion that it’s selfish and wrong to think of the potential rewards of investing in fruitful and faithful ministry has become very pervasive in God’s Church today. Thus, Christians tend to follow their hearts rather than their heads when they give. This disturbing trend has led to the blind giving of hundreds of billions of dollars annually to charities and ministries that are showing little to no lasting kingdom results.

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