If you read the two post suggested from the last post, this post is in response to the statement by Spurgeon.
- He said, "If you can do something else other than pastoral ministry, do it."
- I think this flows from Spurgeon's Lectures to my students..."If any student in this room could be content to be a newspaper editor, or a grocer, or a farmer, or a doctor, or a lawyer, or a senator, or a king, in the name of heaven and earth let him go his way ; he is not the man in whom dwells the Spirit of God in its fullness, for a man so filled with God would utterly weary of any pursuit but that for which his inmost soul pants. If on the other hand, you can say- that for all the wealth of both the Indies you could not and dare not espouse any other calling so as to be put aside from preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, then, depend upon it, if other things be equally satisfactory, you have the signs of this apostleship. We must feel that woe is unto us if we preach not the gospel; the word of God must be unto us as fire in our bones, otherwise, if we undertake the ministry, we shall be unhappy in it, shall be unable to bear the self-denials incident to it, and shall be of little service to those among whom we minister. I speak of self-denials, and well I may; for the true pastor's s work is full of them, and without a love to his calling he will soon succumb, and either leave the drudgery, or move on in discontent, burdened with a monotony as tiresome as that of a blind horse in a mill."
But as for you, brother, do not grow weary of doing good.
In response to two posts about which you can link to, flows this response:
MY PERSONAL REFLECTION ON THE FOOLISHNESS OF PREACHING, AND BEING IN MINISTRY
"If you can do something else other than pastoral ministry, do it." That is a fine statement. I heard that statement forty years ago. What does it mean?My heart's desire from a young boy has been to preach and teach and learn God's Word. I have had no other desire other than to serve the Lord through the ministry in a local church. But had I not learned to do something else other than preaching and teaching, we might have starved.
In those early years, I believed if I went to Seminary, and received my necessary training, I would be able to spend my life's work in ministry, and be able to support my family through the work of ministry. Charity said tonight, "By the world's standards and thinking we would be considered stupid and a failure." I really never believed in those early years I would have to learn another trade to support my family.The fact has been over the last forty years, I have been bi-vocational, I have had a second occupation to help support our family. I have not known how it really felt to just preach and teach in a local church for more than two years. Somewhere in the process of training, I missed the classes that taught the principles of ministry whereby you could have enough income to support your family just by preaching and teaching. Thousands do it all the time.
I have heard enough of those financial schemes whereby you can make money in businesses -- How to make your first million dollars in three easy steps. I read those books how to be successful in business. Wear the right kinds of suits. I even read those positive thinking books by Peale. One pastor gave me a $400 program how to make money. I listened to, who is that guy in FBC of Dallas. "See You At the Top." Oh, Zig Ziglar, twenty-five years ago wrote that book.The problem has been, I have really never been interested in making money. I WANTED TO PREACH AND TEACH THE WORD OF GOD. I have never wanted to learn another trade. I have always resented the idea of learning to do something else other than preaching and teaching and working in the local church with young people and adults.
Even when I have had the opportunity to stay in the secular world and work in another business, I have rejected that desire to do so. I believe I have had the ability to do something else other than preaching, had I been inclined to do so.On several occasion I have said to Charity, "Had I stayed at that job (s), I could have been retired with a good income." But I left that job to take a position in a local church doing what I loved doing. I have left good paying jobs with a good future to take a pastoral job where the income was not enough to live on. Why would I do that? Charity has had several jobs early in her life that if she had stay she could have had a lifetime retirement. And I pulled her away to go to take a church making thirty-five dollars a week. What is up with that? What was I thinking? Goodness.
I remember in Seminary I had a rather good job and an opportunity came for me to be a Youth Pastor in a church in Northern Ohio. I had just married Charity, and we left Texas and drove to Ohio for this wonderful opportunity to start our life in ministry in a local church. When we arrived, we learned our salary would be fifty dollars a week. Why would we stay? Why didn't I learn in Ministry 101 you don't take a position in a church for fifty dollars a week? What was I thinking? I soon realized Charity and I couldn't live on that amount, so I took a job stocking groceries at Hawkins Market. I hated every minute of this job. In a few months the youth class was growing and doing so good, I believed I could quit the job and felt I should, and I did. I went home and told Charity, and Charity said, "Charles, we are going to have a baby." Well, great! And it was wonderful. But I had just quit my job, and now we were back to fifty dollars a week when Charity had to leave her job. (So I worked with a carpenter in the church, helping him knock down an old Amish barn in January and February up in Northern Ohio.) Where did I learn that principle? "If you can do something else, do it, but stay out of ministry." Maybe!So the principle I had "stay out of the secular jobs and the Lord will take care of you and your family." Where did the Lord say "Stay out of the secular job world?" But I have had this mental block in my head about doing anything other than learning and preaching and teaching and ministering to people. It's been my Achilles' heel forever.
I have yet to get over the mental blockage that tells me I need to be in a local church ministering as the Lord has called me to do. Or at least that is what I have always felt for the last forty-five years. And for the last forty-five years I have worked in another job alongside doing the work in the local church.Somewhere along this process of learning, I failed to get the education that would have given me the skills and ability in the secular world.
I sit and hear a lot of those who have much in the way of things in life. Live in a 5,000 sq. feet house, drive a SUV 2008, have a savings account over 15,000 dollars, and make plus 250,000 a year. Some are preachers. What is up with that? It's great! Praise the Lord.A friend of dad and mom who lived in Lynchburg, VA, said to me, "Charles, you need to stay with the Southern Baptist and you will be able to have a great retirement". She was right. Did I do that? Of course, not. What was I thinking?
WHAT WAS I THINKING?
I might continue this article….