September 14, 2023
The Bible Edge
Everyone needs an Edge, Believers can have a Bible Edge
And he said unto them, Take nothing for your journey, neither staves, nor scrip, neither bread, neither money; neither have two coats apiece.
When you think about it, modern day pastors, missionaries and evangelists do this when they enter the ministry. Most have nothing when they start and have little when they retire. It’s like the man who said, “I was born with nothing and have been successful in holding on to most of it.” Some may have great riches in the bank when they start, but most have little or nothing. Especially the young men. I think I had a $10,000 IRA and the equity in my home (about $20,000) and our clothes and furniture. I gave all the rest away except that which we lived on during the year of pastoral internship under my pastor, Dr. Bob Smith.
Just like the twelve disciples most begin their journey in full time ministry with nothing, or at the most very little. A friend of mine one time told me of his family once having a meal of mustard sandwiches …with no chips or sodas, just water. At the time he was starting a church. He is now retired, owns his home outright and lives very comfortably. That church is still going great.
Somewhere along the journey of those in full time ministry there is a conflict. Upon taking a stand for Biblical teachings hardships come. Ugly words, separation of the flock, and most of all financial downturns. Many a preacher has gone weeks, months, without pay. But they show up and continue the work. The ministry, for most, is not an occupation entered into for the money. If so, that will soon be known one way or another.
Evidently though, this is the way God planned it. After all, the Lord God of the universe wants His chosen preachers to trust in Him and Him alone. This is that which conflict over scriptural teachings brings forth. At the end of such conflicts the Lord will know if a preacher will stand with and for Him or with and for the people. Every preacher will have to settle this in his heart sooner or later. “Am I going to trust God or trust the congregation with my life needs.”
Take it from the ones who have gone before us. God is faithful and will feed, clothe, and even give some well-deserved blessings from time to time to His faithful servants. To do this He may use a congregation, or a fish’s mouth, or a raven, or a jaw bone of a donkey or, the list could go on and on. After all King David summed up a great truth that is the Bible Edge for today: I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread. (Psalm 37:25) Most preachers start out with nothing and are doing a good job holding on to it, but during the journey they sure learn to trust in Him. Whoever your pastor is why don’t you just somehow let them know that you know the sacrifice they undergo for you. After all, a good pastor is always underpaid. For those who may take offense at that statement, come on into the ministry you’ll soon understand.
William T. Howe, Ph.D.