Friday, November 28, 2008

Sharing all Good Things.

Galatians 6:6-10 (ESV)
One who is taught the word must share all good things with the one who teaches. [7] Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. [8] For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. [9] And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. [10] So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
“The one who is taught must share all good things with the one who teaches.” There is a myth out there that it is shameful to make your living on the Gospel. This myth is positively thick in Utah, especially among the LDS. To them it is not only shameful but sinful. Some Christian denominations are notorious for underpaying their clergy and this to their shame. They show how much they value the gospel by the way they treat those God sends to them as messengers. Under paid clergy is a very poor witness the congregation makes concerning how valuable the Gospel is to them. It is like a negative witness, actually. What congregations do communicates to the community. It does. It is absolute hypocrisy to send money to missions, and talk about the poor, set up soup kitchens etc. if you are expecting your pastor and his family to stand in line for the soup. It shows to the community.
I have to say though, that I am very happy to be in a congregation that understands all that above.
A brief excurses if you will slightly off topic. What I say above also applies to church facilities. Nice well maintained church buildings send a message to the community. It tells the community that you care about your God, and where you worship him. It also invites the community. Architecture speaks volumes. When a church has a beautiful sanctuary that it has invested money in, it is not showiness, it is not squandering money. We dare not put our lot in with Judas and start talking about the poor. There were poor people around when God commanded the opulent Temple of Israel to be built. And the poor worshiped alongside the rich in that temple. A Church building is perhaps the single most important piece in a congregations evangelism project, next to the Gospel actually being preached.

Back on topic. I have never understood the antipathy toward paying clergy. Everyone talks about Paul’s tent making ministry. At the same time they ignore everything he says about the subject. Paul did it for Paul’s reasons. And he knew this was not good for everyone. It isn’t even good for the church. Paul thought it imminently better that the church pay its clergy. There is actually a lot that goes into being a pastor. It is a full time job. And even if it wasn’t it would still be better to pay the pastor than to think he should be making his living at Seven Eleven. I’ll be honest I don’t have much office work. Sermon prep, Bible study prep, few bulletins, and a News letter once a month. If I spent 8 hours at the office doing that stuff I would have a year’s worth done in a month. So I put this blog together for the edification of my congregation. Still I tend to believe if I spend eight hours in the office during the day I haven’t done my job. I should be out. Go find someone to talk to. That is what I tell myself in the afternoon. You can’t spread the gospel if you aren’t talking to people. (And don’t open with the Gospel, talk to them about their new car.) But then there are those weeks when someone dies, or ends up in the hospital. It is not good form to be planning a funeral at midnight because you had other things more important to do earlier in the day. It is terrible form to put off a hospital visit because your shift at Seven Eleven wasn’t over. So sharing the good things with your pastor is a good thing for all, especially those in the faith. And that would not be just money. I appreciate it when people share their scotch, cigars, and good conversation also.

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