What Happened to Me, Part 2

I never gave much thought to the money I would earn in the ministry.  Turns out, no one else did either.  At least, not those who employed me.  You see, I was of the firm belief (in my youth) that I need not be concerned with finances as God would see to them.  I did not consider that there were intermediaries which would have a say in the dispensing of blessings raining from the windows of heaven.

Let me say two things on this point.  First, I never was (and am not now) saying that God has not provided for me.  His hand has been evident in the fiduciary aspects of my life.  I am extremely grateful for His provisions.  At the same time, I cannot say that I have served life-over with those much concerned for the earthly concerns of my life (over).  It sounds like I’m complaining.  I’m not, but I am making these assessments in arrears.  The second of these concerns fits perfectly with my desire to serve with sacrifice.  I can look any saint of God (living or dead) in the eye and say I didn’t do it for the money.  To this day, it pains me when I see ministers overly concerned with cash.  I think they have the wrong approach, and I hurt a little at my remuneration.  A two-edged sword.

Today’s Christians smack of ingratitude.  We have adopted the world’s position and, as a result, find it hard to serve God.  In this world, money is the answer to everything and the answer to nothing.  It means less in eternity.  Today, even the Bible is big business.  Preachers should serve expecting little, and those whom they serve should make sure they receive their hire.

In my youth, I revered ministers.  I know too many of them now.  Have healthy respect accompanied by reasonable skepticism.  It is a good thing to honor the servants of God while keeping them distinct from the Lord Himself.  I’m not interested in defaming my tribe, but I do have some things to say regarding the work of God.

We are always hearing about the stresses of ministry and burned-out pastors.  For good reason.  They are valid points.  Let us not forget, though, that many people labor under tremendous loads.  Stresses of church work can crush the soul, but the dark night is rife with tears and groanings of the disenfranchised.  I’m with ya fellas, but let’s be careful.  I feel the pain, too.  Sometimes, acutely.     

What is hard for the preacher is hard for his family.  I wish more people understood this, and I wish I had understood it sooner.  I’ve already stated there are a lot of hard jobs, so that is not the issue.  Occupations are hard in different ways.  However, many who labor heroically are not under a microscope.  This is not true of the parson’s progeny.  When he loses his wits, a minister may lose his livelihood.  This is not generally so in the populace.

I’m not bragging or complaining- only observing.  One of my dearest friends is no longer able to pastor.  We’ve spent a good deal of time together through decades.  As we sat in my house some time ago speaking of cruelty and chance, I said to him, “It has been a privilege to live this life.”  On this, we agreed as do most laborers in the vineyard. 

Your life is a gift from God.  Following His plan for you is the only worthwhile way to spend your days.  Difficulties await, but they will find you on the broad or narrow way.

Sterl

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