Freely Give, Freely Receive
There are some who teach that it is wrong to receive financial compensation for ministering in the gifts of the Holy Spirit. A popular verse used to support this is Matthew 10:8, which reads, “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.” Admittedly, one could be forgiven for believing that this scripture is agreeing with the above view if it is isolated from the rest of the chapter. Indeed, much incorrect doctrine results from cherry picking scripture out of context.
My dear friend and fellow minister of the gospel, prophet Kent Simpson, has taken more than his fair share of criticism over the years for being what some have labeled a “mail order prophet”. With that in mind, I would like to offer an alternate view of verse 8 harmonious with the entirety of Matthew 10.
In verse 1, Jesus called unto him his twelve disciples and gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease. The gift of this power had strings attached as it came with the command to, “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. 6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.”. As they went about doing this, they were to heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, and cast out devils.”
They were instructed to take no money with them, and to only take the clothes on their backs. In other words, their lodging, food, and clothing would not be paid for out of their pockets. Lest the twelve felt like they were reduced to begging, Jesus assured them that they had every right to expect their needs be met by the recipients of their ministry. He had said to them, “for the worker is worthy of his food” (Matthew 10:10).
After Jesus commanded them what to do and how to do it (verses 17-23), he began to tell them what to expect. This is where the meaning of verse 8 begins to take shape. The Greek word translated as “freely” in this verse is “dōreán” and is defined as “without a cause; freely; for naught or in vain”. Two synonyms for this word in the Greek are “eikē“, which means “in vain or without cause”, and “matēn“, meaning “in vain or to no purpose”. Dōreán is translated as “in vain” in Gal 2:21, “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.”
I believe Jesus was alluding to a logical conclusion the twelve might have come to after being told what the outcome of their ministry in power would be. He said that men would deliver them up to councils and scourge them; a brother would deliver up a brother to death, and a father the child: and the children would rise up against their parents and cause them to be put to death. They’d also be hated of all men for His name’s sake, and under persecution they would flee from city to city. It’s hard to judge the disciples harshly if they felt like their efforts would be in vain.
But Jesus was quick to assure them in verse 23 that, “When they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.” In other words, the disciples were to share the goods news of the gospel to the lost sheep of the house of Israel in advance of the judgment that would soon come.
It is important to realize that the disciples received a personal word from God involving both a prophecy and a command specific only to them. Not all receive the same word regarding ministry. The apostle Paul comes to mind in this since his area of service was to the gentiles and he did not receive a command to not travel with money. Concerning remuneration for operating under the anointing of the Holy Spirit, Paul in 1 Corinthians 9:9 quotes the law of Moses, “For it is written in the law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain. Is it oxen God is concerned about?“. He makes his point more explicit in verse 11 with, “If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things?” Then to avoid any confusion on the matter, he states in verse 14 that “Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel.”
Each of us with a heart to serve the Lord must continually seek him for personal revelation and rely on the Spirit to tell us when, where, what, and how to minister effectively. This revealing will undoubtedly be unique to us as individuals making up the body of Christ. We all have our own place in the body, and using that imagery it is easy to understand that the hand functions differently from the eye, as well as the foot from the ear. But however dissimilar the various parts of the body, each contribute to a unified whole. One minister may hear God say to travel with no money like he commanded the twelve, while another may hear the Lord say it is no problem to sow spiritual things and reap carnal things, which includes money if not other ways of being compensated, much like Paul in 1 Corinthians 9. In both cases the individuals may be hearing God correctly.
Even casual observation reveals a myriad of variations on the theme of operating under the anointing of The Holy Spirit, suggesting that no two ministries are exactly the same. Nor should they be, as long as they are being led by God. In truth, the body of Christ would be healthier if it’s parts focused on doing what they heard the Lord say to them and not what they think he should be saying to others.
So is it okay to receive financial compensation for ministering in the gifts of The Holy Spirit? Paul taught that it is okay, but we must be prepared to hear God in a personal and definitive way as we prayerfully carry out our own calls to ministry. For that reason, the motto of PMT is “Pray, Hear, and Obey”. God has a unique path for you to follow. Seek the Lord until you find that blessed course and never depart from it.
Written by Wes Arnold, PMT ElderReturn to the Newsletter Archives