In my last post, I shared a video message of a word I felt God laying on my heart. This word, primarily for teachers and communicators of the Word of God, was focused on the issue of plagiarism and what I felt the Lord saying to us about it in this hour. Here’s a written version of portions of that message.
“I will not take what is yours and give it to the Lord. I will not present burnt offerings that have cost me nothing.” 1 Chronicles 21:24
King David, who was a man after God’s own heart, refused to establish a place of worship, refused to offer sacrifices of worship, with that which did not cost him something, personally. Even when the threshing floor, the oxen, the wood, the wheat he would need was offered to him freely, he said absolutely not, but I will pay you full price for it. King David knew that what makes our offerings so valuable, what makes our worship so valuable, is that it comes from a place that costs us something.
Take that concept and connect it to the principle that our work is worship, and I want to especially focus on those of us who have been called as teachers and communicators of the Word of God. (But really, you can apply this to any gift or calling.) What we do – our work – is worship. But to operate in the anointing of our gift will cost something.
The Apostle Paul said that because of the surpassing great revelations given to him, he was given a thorn in his side to keep him humble, to keep him from becoming proud (1 Corinthians 12:7). We often focus on trying to figure out what the thorn was, but notice why he was given the thorn: “because of the surpassing great revelations“. Here’s Paul, who had an incredible revelatory gift, and he operated – not just in the gift itself – he operated in the anointing of his gift. But there was a price to pay for it.
I don’t think anyone would disagree that teaching and communicating the Word of God is work. Indeed, it is. It’s a pure joy and an honor to do what we get to do, but we must remember that there will be a price to pay for operating in the anointing of what we have been given. For “to whom much is given, much is required.” (Luke 12:48) And especially at a time where there is an overwhelming amount of content out there and it can be so easy to just grab something off the shelf or off the internet and re-teach it, we have to guard the purity of our gift as well as the place of intimacy where we continue to seek God and get clear on our specific assignment. We have to get clear on what it is He wants to communicate through us to those He will put in our path. Because the message He gives to others, though it may sound good to us, may not at all be what He is wanting to speak through us – at that time – and to the people He is entrusting to us. And here’s another reason this issue is so urgent:
We can’t go on teaching that our work is worship while consistently modeling that that worship doesn’t have to cost us anything, personally. Which is in essence what we are doing when we plunder (or plagiarize) other people’s content, ideas, or messages. Other people’s “articles of worship” if you will, and then pass them off as if they were our own. Because this is a misrepresentation of what it means to worship in Spirit and in TRUTH. It’s a misrepresentation of the sacred value of an offering. And if there’s one thing we can see consistently throughout the word of God, it’s that He takes the “articles of our worship” very seriously.
I know this post has somewhat of a corrective tone to it, but please know, this is not a reaction to anything, specifically. It’s not a reaction to something that I witnessed or saw in particular. I’m not a “soap box”. I’m not here to slap anyone’s hand, or to call anybody out. I just sense the love of the Father drawing our attention to this to make sure we are in alignment. I also hear the Lord saying He wants to increase the amount of revelation He is pouring out, but His eyes are going to and fro, throughout the earth to see. And He will strengthen those who’s hearts are devoted to Him, devoted to operating according to kingdom principles, devoted to truth, and devoted to honoring Him in all they do. (see 2 Chronicles 16:9)
The gifts and callings of God are irrevocable (Romans 11:29). The teaching gifts we have been given, the gifts to communicate, the gifts to write, etc., these gifts are irrevocable. But I do sense Him saying that this new level of revelation and the impact we have with our gift(s), and whether or not it continues to grow in breadth and longevity, will have a lot to do with how we treat our gift and how we operate in it. This fresh new level of pouring out will be upon those who are willing to pay the price, who continue make room, and who operate in honor. I hear Him saying it’s time to examine ourselves, to make sure we are walking circumspectly (Ephesians 5:18). We need to fight (with spiritual weapons) against laziness and apathy, and make sure we continue “laboring in the word” as 1 Timothy 5:17 reminds us. Remembering that those who teach will be held to a very high standard (James 3:1).
Now, I’m not saying we cannot quote other people, or even re-teach their content if we feel led to and find it useful to our assignment. But if we are going to do this, we need to give honor where honor is due (1 Thessalonians 5:12) and use these valuable materials in an honoring way, not in a plundering way.
Here’s the truth: plagiarism, plundering, (or whatever you want to call it), is a result of operating from a spirit of poverty. It comes from operating from a place of “not enough” which is not how we were intended to operate. Jesus said, “Out of your bellies will flow RIVERS of living water” (John 7:38). And if we don’t keep tapping into that source, into that well, which is of course the Holy Spirit living within us, we can end up drying out that well of revelation just from a lack of use. But I believe that as we return to excellence in this area, and commit ourselves to honor, truth and humility, a great new refreshing and revival will come in our spirits and those “rivers of living water” will burst forth and begin to flow at an uncontrollable rate from deep within.
Thanks for reading.
May He be glorified in all we do. May our faces be radiant with joy and our words refreshing. May we be ready to receive all He has for us and may it fill us to overflowing so that we can offer drinks, yes, cups of water, in His name.
Linda G. Riddle