Summary: If you could not be paid to preach would you pay to preach?

1Co 9:17 For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.

18 What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel.

From time to time I run into someone who believes a pastor should not receive a salary and use Paul's comment here as proof. The irony of that is Paul had just gone through a whole dialogue in this passage saying that a pastor should live of the Gospel meaning a salary. He also speaks of the teaching pastor to be worthy of double honor or salary. The Greek word is where we get the term honorarium.

After being saved and always hearing how preachers were only in it for the money and seeing the abuses of some tele-evangelists I really wanted to find a way to take on the very minimum salary or that God would allow me to fund my own ministry.

That apparently was a bad idea on my part. A friend once said that I had good resume except I had no salaried positions and not enough titles. Go figure.

One church in Missouri I told them I would come for $10K less than they were offering and they could use that money to pay off the mortgage or for missions. They never responded. I guess they thought I was nuts or something was wrong with me.

For most of ministry I have been bi-vocational and served without pay so I got my desire to be self-supporting. Once I was given a gas allowance. Once I took a salary cut to be fulltime and returned to work a short time later forgoing my salary to keep the church afloat.

Now when I tell people that I will come and minister to their church without pay I still wonder if they think I am nuts. I guess if I asked for $500, a six pack of Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper and a steak dinner folks would be up for that.

As to the titles, after I got a few of those I ended up as an Associate Pastor for ten years where they did not care about degrees or titles. I only use them for those who need them. When I went to be Senior Pastor my pastor asked what they were going to me and I said that as long as it was nothing derogatory I did not care. Bro. Ron would have been fine, but they chose Pastor Ron.

2 Cor 11:7 Have I committed an offence in abasing myself that ye might be exalted, because I have preached to you the gospel of God freely?

2 Cor 11:20 For ye suffer, if a man bring you into bondage, if a man devour you, if a man take of you, if a man exalt himself, if a man smite you on the face.

I think I know how Paul felt as I have often wondered had I been a bit more demanding and dictatorial if I would have been taken more seriously or gotten more respect. I have seen those kind and the people loved them.

Ministry has been interesting, but I echo Samuel Chadwick,

"I would rather preach than do anything else I know in this world. I have never missed a chance to preach. I would rather preach than eat my dinner, or have a holiday or anything else the world can offer. I would rather pay to preach than be paid not to preach. It has its price in agony of sweat and tears and no calling has such joys and heartbreaks, but it is a calling an archangel might covet; and I thank God that of His grace He called me into this ministry. Is there any joy like that of saving a soul from death? Any thrill like that of opening blind eyes? Any reward like the love of little children to the second and third generation? Any treasures like the grateful love of hearts healed and comforted? I tell you it is a glorious privilege to share the travail and the wine of God. I wish I had been a better minister, but there is nothing in God’s world I would rather be."

So mad man I must be, but I will speak anywhere and anytime for free, but I never turn down a Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper. 🤠


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