Laying Down Our Chicken

12/28/2006

speech bubble representing person 5 talkingI have a question. I am not good at speaking in English, so I am just trying to understand it. Most of the pastors here are getting their source of living from the church. We all know that. We’ve been a pastor for more than twenty years, but we have this same feeling as you do, so we stopped. As of now we are just working. We stopped because we are tired and sick of those traditions, organizations, and programs. We are so very tired. So we need to find another source of living because most pastors here, just like I said, get their source of living from the church. So even if they have the same feeling, they cannot get out of the church because they have their living there. What can we do?

speech bubble representing person 3 talkingThat’s a beautiful question from a beautiful heart. I very much respect your courage to be willing to even think about those kinds of things and to make those sort of sacrifices. There are many in the churches that we know of who have made those same decisions. A brother that we’ll see in Africa next week almost said the same thing you did. It was all brand new to him at that point, though you’re a little further down the road than he was at the time. He said, “Pastors get to eat chicken every week, and most of the saints only eat chicken once a month. I’m not going to be able to have chicken every week anymore!” (laughs) But it was very beautiful, and now we’re talking, seven years later, and he’s still a very dear friend of ours. He’s involved in the Churches in Africa that we share life with, too, and he has no regrets.

Now, two things. There’s a biblical idea called “let he who receives instruction in the word share all good things with his teacher.” All right? In 1 Corinthians 9, Paul goes into great detail about not muzzling the ox that treads out the grain, and that it’s a God-given right. Paul said, “We didn’t use that right. But,” he said, “we had that right.” In God’s order of things, that right exists, and this goes back to your question about Bible college, in a way, and we’ll get back there in a second. It’s not what we do, it’s more how we do it that matters.

I’ll give you a practical example. There’s nothing in the New Testament that implies that a salary or a wage is guaranteed to a leader of God’s people. There’s much evidence, though, that God’s people helped meet the needs of those that fed them in the word of God and protected them. So which one is it? There’s no salary. There’s no wage. There’s no office or titles. In the New Testament, there are no titles. Jesus forbids titles. Typically there are titles in the religious world, and we were all trained that way, so it’s not our fault, it’s somebody else’s fault, but we still need to get over it!

Jesus said, “Call no man ‘Leader,’ ‘Master,’ ‘Father,’ ‘Teacher’” (Matthew 23:6-12). I was a Roman Catholic for twenty years, so I heard “Father” every day of my life. I went to mass almost every day for years and years, and I heard “Father,” “Father,” “Father.” When I read that in the Bible it broke my heart. Jesus Himself said, “Don’t call anybody that.” So I started calling them John, or Paul, or Fred. I could never bring myself to call them “Father”ever again. Because Jesus said, “I do not want titles amongst My people. Some people love that, but not My people.”

 

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