August 25, 2019

Supporting Jesus' Ministry

Luke 8:1-3

These women were helping to support [Jesus and the disciples] out of their own means.

—  Luke 8:3

Today we are reminded of a seldom-noted aspect of Jesus’ ministry: several women helped to support Jesus and the twelve disciples out of their own means. In other words, with their own money they helped to take care of food, clothing, shelter, and other incidental expenses.

Jesus had been a builder, and some of the twelve disciples had been fishermen. But they left their employment when they began their traveling ministry. Jesus once said, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head” (Matthew 8:20). He didn’t own furniture or a cozy little bungalow. He and the twelve disciples depended on the generosity of people like Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Susanna.

This was not an entirely new pattern of ministry. Many years earlier, a widow in Zarephath provided the prophet Elijah with an upper room in her house and food to eat each day (1 Kings 17)—and the Lord supplied all her needs. Similarly, a well-to-do woman in Shunem and her husband made a room for Elisha on the roof of their home, and they put a bed, table, and chair in it so he had a place to stay when he was in the area (2 Kings 4).

All the good things we have are gifts from God (James 1:17). What can you share to help in the service of God’s kingdom?

Lord Jesus, we want to follow you. Guide us to know what our calling is, and how to serve you in it. In your name we pray. Amen.

About the author — George Young

George Young, a native New Yorker, worked as a taxi driver in New York City before studying to become a pastor. Then he, his wife Ruth, and their children were missionaries for many years in northeastern Japan. They worked with ministers and believers from the Reformed Church in Japan to spread the good news of salvation in Christ and ­establish new churches. Now George and Ruth are retired and live in the northeastern United States, nearer to their children and grandchildren.

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