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Affluent Investor | February 26, 2017

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Jesus Never Recruited Anyone to Paid Ministry

St. Luke's United Reformed Church, Hastings, East Sussex, England

St. Luke’s United Reformed Church, Hastings, East Sussex, England

When I conduct a purpose seminar, which by the way I could do every week if I had the opportunity, I make this statement, “Jesus never recruited anyone to a paid ministry position. He recruited people to fulfill their purpose, and He promised to be with them no matter where they went or what they did.” Let’s look at that statement more closely.

Jesus did not approach His disciples and say, “Men, I have a job for you to do, and that is to be fishers of men. Now, I will pay you a certain amount, plus benefits, for your efforts. You will have two weeks off every six months, and I will put away a certain amount for your retirement.” Jesus did not fully explain how He would take care of the men, but He did promise to do so.

The question that people raise with me when I talk about this is, “Well, that’s because the disciples were in ministry, and that’s how people in ministry are to live. But I’m a carpenter or a teacher or a nurse, and I need pay!” That, my friends, is the crux of the matter, isn’t it? Does God have the right to ask you to work at any job and trust Him for your provision?

Let me give you an example. I have completed a full commentary on the New Testament, verse by verse. I cannot escape that fact that I am to edit and publish it in its entirety. That is my work that God has assigned me to do right now. No one is paying me to do that, and there are no guarantees of sales to support me. Yet, God has provided for me to work on that project, and I feel His pleasure as I do it. God has recruited me to write, and He has promised to care for me as I do. So far, all the bills are paid, money is being saved, health benefits are covered, and I have money left over to give away. Am I the exception or the rule where this issue of God’s provision is concerned?

At some point in the discussion, people quote the verse that says the laborer is worthy of his or her hire (see Luke 10:7 and 1 Timothy 5:18), and of course that principle is true. A laborer should be paid by whatever entity benefits from his or her efforts. But isn’t that verse also a promise about God’s faithfulness? If God hires you to do something, won’t he be true to His own promise and, as your employer, make sure you are taken care of?

People usually tell me that “I have a family to feed and support,” to which I respond, “Oh, so you are the one to take care of your family? God has no role in the process?” Do you think it’s more difficult for God to provide for a family of five than for an individual? Do you think God needs a company to do that? God can use a company to feed you and yours, but God doesn’t need one to feed you all. And ultimately, who is the real source of the provision—God using the company or the company itself?

As we close, it would be good to read and then reflect on Jesus’ own words on this matter. Ask yourself, “Did He mean this for those in ministry or for every one of His followers?” If He meant them for all, then how can you apply them to your life and work? I have shared with you how they apply to mine. Feel free to share with me how they apply to yours on the site where this entry is posted:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:25-34).

 

Originally posted on The Monday Memo.

John Stanko was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and attended Duquesne University where he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics in 1972 and 1974 respectively.

Since then, John has served as an administrator, teacher, consultant, author, and pastor in his professional career. He holds a second master’s degree in pastoral ministries, and earned his Doctor of Ministry from Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh in 2011.

John founded a personal and leadership development company, called PurposeQuest, in 2001 and today travels the world to speak, consult and inspire leaders and people everywhere. From 2001-2008, he spent six months a year in Africa and still enjoys visiting and working on that continent, while teaching for Geneva College’s Masters of Organizational Leadership and the Center for Urban Biblical Ministry in his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Most recently, John founded Urban Press, a publishing service designed to tell stories of the city, from the city and to the city.

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