In the same way, the Lord ordered that those who preach the Good News should be supported by those who benefit from it. Yet I have never used any of these rights. And I am not writing this to suggest that I want to start now. In fact, I would rather die than lose my right to boast about preaching without charge. Yet preaching the Good News is not something I can boast about. I am compelled by God to do it. How terrible for me if I didn’t preach the Good News!
If I were doing this on my own initiative, I would deserve payment. But I have no choice, for God has given me this sacred trust. What then is my pay? It is the opportunity to preach the Good News without charging anyone. That’s why I never demand my rights when I preach the Good News.
There is a danger in becoming a hired hand to the religious machine. Once we’ve chained ourselves to funding budgets for great buildings and programs and salaries, and we rely upon the support of people in the way of tithes, offerings, collections, or solicitations – there is opportunity for the message to be compromised because we consider the possible consequences of sharing a truthful message that won’t be well received by a rebellious group of supporters that might in turn adversity effect our ability to “pay the bills”.
We risk become a hired hand.
Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep. A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep. “I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep.
We risk being misunderstood and exalted by men as a teacher, accepting honor for ourselves instead of recognizing that He is the one worthy of praise and honor and glory – forgetting that there is only one teacher and we are simply messengers. We are called as servants.
Everything they do is for show. On their arms they wear extra wide prayer boxes with Scripture verses inside, and they wear robes with extra long tassels. And they love to sit at the head table at banquets and in the seats of honor in the synagogues. They love to receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces, and to be called ‘Rabbi.’ Don’t let anyone call you ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one teacher, and all of you are equal as brothers and sisters. And don’t address anyone here on earth as ‘Father,’ for only God in heaven is your spiritual Father. And don’t let anyone call you ‘Teacher,’ for you have only one teacher, the Messiah. The greatest among you must be a servant. But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
You see, I am no teacher. I am a disciple. I am a student of the Word of God. The reason that I do not solicit is because it is my teacher, my Lord and Savior who works through me. I am a vessel for His use. This is not a career choice, it is not a decision made for Christ. It is a calling placed upon me, and at times it feels out of my own control as I make plans but He establishes my steps.
And those who would point to rewards for serving in the Kingdom of God, I ask you – what reward would you not without a second thought lay at the feet of Christ in grattitude of the salvation that He has granted and paid for with His blood? What crowns would you refuse to wear in His presence, and instead throw down at His feet as you wash His feet with the tears of your humility?
I am truly blessed that Christ who lives in me is sanctifying me and using me for His purpose. It is not me that lives, it is not my works, but it is Christ in me, it is His work manifest through my life.
My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Call to Action
There is a cost, there is a requirement to following Christ. Cheap grace that does not result in following Christ in a life of discipleship, can we say that it is truly any grace at all?
My benevolent humanism, my love towards my fellow man, my emotional attachment to those sinners like myself who are deserving of destruction and separation from God and whose only hope is to hear the voice of the Good Shepherd – it tempts me to expect that all would be saved if He would choose even me. But the truth is evident and clear. The path is broad that leads to destruction, and few will find the narrow path.
Mostly, I fear for the world. And then I realize that second guessing the judgement of the Lord and not having faith that He is Faithful and True is the very trap that the enemy would love to see me stumble into. So I fear the Lord for myself, even as I trust His promise that I am His called and chosen.
At this point, I realize that His ways surpass mine. That all of this chasing the wind is just evidence of my seeking Him. And that is in itself glorifying and honoring Him. And what greater payment can I receive, than knowing, yes knowing, that I am bringing honor and glory to His name. This is the treasure that is eternal – the opportunity to praise the Lord. Who needs money, payments from men, when I have the Lord?
Gain the world and lose my soul? Or seek first the Kingdom of God knowing that what I need and what He can trust me to manage wisely will be provided, that my needs will be met daily?
So it isn’t what I will get, it’s what I’ve already received.
It isn’t what the Lord can provide to me, like a genie in a lamp, it’s what I can give back to Him to honor Him.
It’s so much less about me, and so much more about Him.
So keep your money, but if you have some Christ that you can share with me, pour it out, friends. Because my hunger and thirst for this world is disappearing and dying along with my flesh, but my hunger and thirst for righteousness, for Christ living in this world and being manifest and aive and moving, with His will being accomplished on this earth as it is in heaven – this is what I am soliciting you for friends!
Share your testimony!
Be alive in Christ!
Let Him live in you and through you, friends!
Arise, Christian soldiers!
Rise up and put on the full armor of God.
The hour if His return is upon us.
Do not delay.
Seek Him while you still can.
Hear His call upon your life.
Know His healing, demonstrate your repentance.