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FeaturesThe roll call of biblical financial evangelists

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The roll call of biblical financial evangelists

“Money is not sinful or evil. The kingdom of God needs it desperately! Making money is what I do best but it must be made for God’s glory and not mine. As a Christian entrepreneur, my company relies on prayer and inward confirmation by the Holy Spirit before making any decision. I believe God is interested in my business if my business is His business.” ~Robert Norman Edmiston, Evangelical British Billionaire

Remember how we defined a Financial Evangelist as someone who dedicates their resources to furthering the gospel? Today, we embark on a journey through scripture, encountering real-life examples of individuals who embodied this powerful principle.

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Prepare to be inspired by these remarkable figures who leveraged their financial means to amplify God’s kingdom. We’ll dive deep into their stories, uncovering the motivations, strategies, and impactful outcomes of their financial evangelism.

Ready to discover heroes of faith who put their money where their heart was? Let’s begin!

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Financial Evangelist 1: King David David, a true financial evangelist, wholeheartedly invested his resources and himself into the cause of the kingdom. He spared no effort, demonstrating an unwavering commitment to God’s purpose. His dedication was such that he willingly presented the best portion of his possessions to the Almighty.

On that particular day, Gad approached David, relaying the divine command to erect an altar to the Lord upon the threshing floor owned by Araunah the Jebusite. True to Gad’s instructions and in alignment with God’s will, David ascended the hill. As Araunah spotted the approach of the king and his entourage, he came forward, bowing before the king with profound respect. He inquired, “Why has your majesty, the king, come to his servant?” David’s response was clear, “To procure your threshing floor and construct an altar to the Lord, in order to avert the pestilence from the people.”

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Araunah’s generous offer included oxen for a burnt offering, along with threshing sledges and yokes for the oxen, even offering the land itself. However, David emphatically refused, declaring, “No, I will purchase them from you at their full value. I will not present to the Lord my God offerings that have cost me nothing.” And so, David acquired the threshing floor and the oxen, paying fifty silver shekels. He then proceeded to erect an altar to the Lord, offering burnt sacrifices and peace offerings. Consequently, the Lord heeded David’s prayers, leading to the cessation of the plague upon Israel. ~2 Samuel 24:18-25

This passage unfolds after David had undertaken a census of Israel, an action that displeased God. In response, a devastating plague afflicted the nation. Following considerable harm caused by the plague, the prophet Gad directed David to construct an altar on Araunah the Jebusite’s threshing floor, a site for making offerings and seeking divine forgiveness. Despite Araunah’s offer to provide the land and materials without cost, David insisted on purchasing them, underscoring his belief that authentic sacrifices demand personal sacrifice. David’s purchase of the land, subsequent altar construction, and offering of sacrifices ultimately led to God’s intervention, halting the plague.

This narrative stands as a poignant reminder of the significance of sincere and sacrificial worship. It underscores the principle that genuine devotion entails personal investment and dedication. Furthermore, David’s monumental contributions to the construction of the temple further exemplify his fervent commitment to God’s dwelling place. He not only directed others to contribute, but also dedicated vast quantities of gold, silver, brass, iron, timber, and stone to the house of the Lord.

His words to Solomon, his successor, encapsulate his dedication,

“Now, in the midst of my difficulties, I have readied for the house of the LORD one hundred thousand talents of gold, one million talents of silver, along with an abundance of brass and iron—weightless. Additionally, I have prepared timber and stone, and you may add to it as needed. Skilled craftsmen, hewers of stone and timber, and artisans of every kind are at your disposal. The gold, silver, brass, and iron are beyond measure. Therefore, rise and act, with the LORD’s presence guiding you.” (1 Chronicles 22:14-16, KJV).

Financial Evangelist 2: King Solomon Solomon, deeply influenced by his father King David, embraced the art of giving wholeheartedly. He channeled substantial financial resources into the construction of the temple, distinguishing himself as an exemplary supporter of God’s kingdom in the Old Testament.

Interestingly, Solomon’s generous giving prompted a remarkable encounter with God. He beseeched, “Grant me wisdom and knowledge, that I may govern this great people of Yours.” God’s response was both revealing and profound, acknowledging Solomon’s unselfish heart. God commended Solomon for not seeking material riches, wealth, honor, or the downfall of his enemies. Instead, Solomon’s request for wisdom and knowledge to guide his role as a just ruler over God’s people resonated deeply. In light of this, God granted Solomon not only wisdom and knowledge, but also unparalleled riches, wealth, and honor—unequaled by any previous or subsequent kings.

The narrative further unfolds in I Kings 3: 5 to 7, shedding light on Solomon’s reverence and devotion. He placed the bronze altar crafted by Bezalel, son of Uri, before the Lord’s tabernacle. At this sacred location, Solomon and the assembly sought divine communion. In a profound act of worship, Solomon ascended to the bronze altar and presented a thousand burnt offerings upon it. It was on this transformative night that God materialized before Solomon, extending a momentous invitation: “Ask! What shall I give you?”

Solomon stood as an exemplar of a premier financial evangelist, unhesitatingly dedicating all resources at his disposal to advance the kingdom’s cause. His desire to magnify the splendor of God’s dwelling was evident, as he pursued the beautification of God’s house with unwavering commitment.

Financial Evangelist 3: St. Joseph of Arimathea According to all four Gospels, Joseph of Arimathea was a discreet follower of Jesus, quietly embracing his teachings. In an act of profound reverence, he personally interred Jesus’ body within his own tomb. Notably, Mark 15:43 and Luke 23:50’s reference to him as a “member of the council” suggests his affiliation with the esteemed Great Sanhedrin in Jerusalem.

This virtuous and affluent man, occupying a significant position, demonstrated courage by securing Pontius Pilate’s authorization to retrieve Jesus’ body. Mark 15:43 cites his motivation as eagerly anticipating the arrival of the kingdom of God. Joseph’s intent was twofold: to avert the defilement of Jewish law, which prohibited a crucified body from remaining on the cross overnight, and to grant Jesus an honorable burial.

An intriguing mid-13th-century narrative insertion recounts Joseph’s journey to Glastonbury in England, a place where he is revered as the patron saint. In this account, attributed to St. Philip the Apostle, Joseph led a group of 12 missionaries dispatched to Glastonbury.

Matthew 28:57-61, in the New King James Version, provides a vivid depiction of Joseph’s devoted act. This passage emphasizes Joseph’s meticulous care, as he personally wrapped Jesus’ body in a clean linen cloth and placed it within a newly carved tomb hewn from rock. Subsequently, he sealed the entrance with a sizable stone. Notably, the presence of Mary Magdalene and the other Mary near the tomb underscores the solemnity of the occasion.

The narrative highlights Joseph of Arimathea’s extensive commitment to according Jesus a dignified burial. This serves as a poignant reminder of the lengths to which believers should be willing to go in propagating the gospel across the globe today. Just as Joseph’s sacrificial actions ensured a fitting farewell for Jesus, modern believers must also exhibit a readiness to invest in spreading the message of Christ to all corners of the world.

Financial Evangelist 4: Mary Magdalene She stands recognized as a vital benefactor in the early ministry of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Her name resonates prominently within Luke 8:1-3:

“As He went through every city and village, preaching and bringing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with Him, and certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities—Mary called Magdalene, out of whom had come seven demons, and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others who provided for Him from their substance.”

In this passage, these women undertook the role of supporting Jesus and the Twelve. This indicates their affluence and respectability, portraying a glimpse into the commendable role prosperous women fulfilled during that era. It is plausible that this attribution reflects the influence of prosperous women in later years, harkening back to the time of Jesus.

But who was she? From the New Testament, a portrait emerges of Mary of Magdala, hailing from a village along the shores of the Sea of Galilee, as a prominent figure drawn to Jesus. Amidst the hour of mortal peril, when his male companions faltered, Mary of Magdala remained steadfast by his side, even through the agonies of the Crucifixion. Witness to the tomb and recipient of the initial resurrection appearance of Jesus, she was the first to herald the “Good News” of this miraculous event. These assertions in the Gospels provide some of the limited insights into Mary Magdalene’s role.

Additional writings from the early Christian epoch suggest that in the years following Jesus’ passing, her standing as an “apostle” rivaled even that of Peter. This elevated status sprang from the profound intimacy she shared with Jesus, with some accounts alluding to a physical dimension that included acts of affection.

From these early Christian records, spanning the first to the third centuries, the framework was crafted, culminating in a portrayal of St. Mary Magdalene. One critical element that looms large in her legend—that she was a penitent prostitute—seems largely erroneous. This misconception has shaped the dual narrative of her legacy, both as a means of undermining human sexuality and subduing the empowerment of women.

Financial Evangelist 5: Lady Joanna

Lady Joanna stands as yet another remarkable and affluent woman who channeled her financial resources to propel the cause of God’s kingdom forward. As the wife of Chuza, the esteemed chief steward in the court of Herod, she harnessed her position and financial prowess to bolster the ministry of Jesus Christ. Joanna’s benevolent contributions were pivotal; without her compassionate support, the ministry of Jesus might have encountered substantial financial challenges. May the divine grace bring forth more such individuals to uplift and fortify the church!

Wikipedia details Joanna’s profound impact:

“Joanna, a woman mentioned in the Gospels, experienced healing by Jesus and later emerged as a dedicated supporter of him and his disciples during their journeys. She is one of the women chronicled in the Gospel of Luke who accompanied Jesus and the twelve apostles, bearing witness to the miraculous resurrection of Jesus. Joanna was united in matrimony to Chuza, entrusted with managing the household of Herod Antipas, the ruler of Galilee, in his capacity as steward. As it unfolded, Jesus journeyed through cities and villages, proclaiming the uplifting message of the kingdom of God. Alongside the twelve apostles, a group of women who had been liberated from malevolent spirits and infirmities by Jesus’ grace journeyed with Him as well. This company included Mary, also known as Magdalene, from whom seven demons had been cast out, as well as JOANNA, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward. Susanna and numerous others were also part of this assembly, wholeheartedly providing sustenance for Jesus from their personal resources.”

Indeed, the narrative of Lady Joanna underscores her pivotal role in ensuring the continuation of Jesus’ mission. As a steadfast benefactor and witness to the miraculous, her influence exemplifies the profound impact of using wealth for a higher purpose.

Financial Evangelist 6: Lady Susanna Susanna emerges as a significant figure among the women who contributed financially to Jesus’ ministry, as documented in Luke 8:1-3. There is speculation that she might have been the spouse of Joseph of Arimathea, a prosperous trader in tin who possessed a fleet of ships and harbored a concealed devotion to Jesus Christ.

The scriptural account in Luke 8:1-3 paints a vivid picture:

“In due course, as Jesus traversed every city and village, proclaiming the joyful tidings of the kingdom of God, the twelve apostles accompanied Him. Also, in their midst were certain women who had been liberated from malevolent spirits and afflictions. Among them was Mary, known as Magdalene, from whom seven demons had been expelled. Another was Joanna, the wife of Chuza, a steward in Herod’s service. Additionally, there was Susanna, along with numerous others, who extended their support by contributing from their own resources.”

This depiction highlights Susanna’s active participation in nurturing Jesus’ mission through her financial contributions. Moreover, intriguing speculation revolves around her potential connection to Joseph of Arimathea, a prosperous merchant renowned for his ownership of an extensive fleet of ships. He is noted as a secret disciple of Jesus. This association adds depth to Susanna’s role, suggesting a network of committed supporters working in harmony to advance Jesus’ cause.

Financial Evangelist 7: Lady Lydia Lydia, a pioneering European convert and a shrewd businesswoman, dealt in the luxurious trade of purple fabrics, items of remarkable value during that era. Originally hailing from Thyatira, she had established herself in Philippi, where her path converged with that of Paul during his second missionary journey. Her specialty in purple cloth, closely associated with Thyatira’s renown as a hub for the indigo trade, hints at her expertise and trade connections. While the Bible does not explicitly verify her membership in the dyers’ guild, inscriptions discovered among Thyatira’s ruins hint at such a possibility.

Embarking from Troas, we navigated a direct route to Samothrace and proceeded to Neapolis, eventually reaching Philippi—the preeminent city in that Macedonian region. In this city, we lingered for a span, and on the Sabbath, we ventured to the riverside, where the customary place of prayer was situated. Seated amidst a gathering of women, we engaged in dialogue.

During this encounter, a woman named Lydia, hailing from Thyatira and known for her trade in purple, intently absorbed our words. She was devout, a worshiper of God, and in a remarkable turn of events, the Lord unlocked her heart, rendering her receptive to Paul’s teachings. This profound transformation led to her baptism, alongside her household. Filled with gratitude, she implored us, proclaiming, “If you consider me faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” Her heartfelt persuasion resonated with us, and we accepted her gracious invitation.

Lydia’s exceptional success as an entrepreneur is evident through her ownership of not only a residence in Philippi, where she conducted business, but quite possibly another in her hometown Thyatira, modern-day Turkey. Remarkably, she opened her dwelling to accommodate missionaries, which ultimately resulted in her own salvation. Her passion for both business and ministry became intertwined as she fervently urged Paul to take lodging under her roof during his ministry journey.

This narrative serves as a compelling testament to Lydia’s multi-faceted character—a savvy merchant, a devout believer, and a generous host. Her story continues to inspire, showcasing how her entrepreneurial acumen and fervent faith intersected to contribute significantly to the spread of Christianity.

Financial Evangelist 8: Priscilla and Aquilla Priscilla and her husband Aquila encountered the Apostle Paul during his visit to Corinth around 50 C.E. This trio would go on to forge an unbreakable camaraderie, embark on shared journeys, and collaborate in ministry. However, our story begins nearly a year earlier, in 49 C.E., when Emperor Claudius, as documented by Suetonius, expelled all Jews who followed “Chrestus” (likely a misrepresentation of “Christ”) from Rome. Among those exiled were Aquila and Priscilla, who resettled in Corinth and established a thriving leather goods business (Acts 18:2). By the time Paul crossed paths with them, they were already fervent disciples of Jesus.

Subsequently, they accompanied Paul to Ephesus, staying on to provide unwavering support to the burgeoning congregation. While in Ephesus, Priscilla and Aquila offered precise guidance to the eloquent preacher Apollos, particularly regarding the gospel’s teachings on baptism (Acts 18:26). After Claudius’ decree was overturned, they returned to Rome (Rom 16:3-4). Priscilla and Aquila are explicitly mentioned six times in the New Testament, consistently acknowledged as a united pair (Acts 18:2-3; Acts 18-19; Acts 26; Rom 16:3-5; 1Cor 16:19; 2Tim 4:19).

They held influential positions within the fledgling churches and commanded profound respect. Their collaborative partnership serves as an exemplary model of early church ministry (see Rom 16:7; 1Cor 9:5). Paul designates them as his “partners” in spreading the gospel, praising their willingness to face adversity on his behalf (Rom 16:3-4), and noting twice that congregations gathered in their homes (Rom 16:5; 1Cor 16:19).

This dynamic duo also excelled as entrepreneurs within the early church marketplace. Priscilla, a savvy businesswoman, displayed a deep understanding of spiritual matters. She actively contributed to fortifying Paul’s ministry. Historical records indicate that Priscilla held a prominent position, as evident in Acts 16:26; 18:18; Romans 16:3; 2 Timothy 4:9. Aquila, whose Latin name signifies “eagle,” embarked on a journey from Pontus, his homeland in northern Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey) near the Black Sea, to Rome. He practiced the trade of tentmaking, a skill often pursued by emancipated slaves, analogous to Paul, a Roman citizen by birth, who also engaged in such labour.

About The Authors:

Nelson Semanu Boandoh-Korkor is a distinguished figure, renowned as an Author, Publishing Consultant, Christian Business Coach, and an enthusiastic Financial Evangelist. Nelson is also a proficient forex trader, cryptocurrency investor, and metaverse enthusiast.

Elizabeth Boandoh-Korkor (CA) is an accomplished Chartered Accountant with extensive experience as a Financial Management Consultant, accumulating nearly two decades of expertise in both the not-for-profit and banking sectors.

For inquiries, you can reach out to them via email at nelsonmbnbooks@gmail.com.

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