I have a pet peeve.
Well, I have a few pet peeves. I won’t share them all, but I think this one particular pet peeve matters. I think it’s important, because I think it will affect how you read this blog. And, if I ever have something to say that’s worth reading, you should know me well enough to filter my words through a more correct impression of who is doing the writing. Does that make sense?
I visited a blog the other day – a stranger’s blog, that I just happened to visit. It doesn’t matter which one, though, because there are so many blogs just like it. Too many of them, and they make me weary. I hesitate to talk about them, because I know some of you really do like those blogs. But, they upset me. They hurt my feelings. I know you know them. They are Christian women’s blogs that are written and presented by Christian women who give the impression they have arrived. No, they won’t say that. They will actually make sure they tell you they don’t have it all together—that is the latest marketing ploy—but if you look behind that facade of false humility, you will see that what they are really trying to do is build your confidence in them. It doesn’t matter if they are big-time authors, or small-time entrepreneurs. It doesn’t matter if they are creating this image themselves, or just submitting to the powers that be and going along with the flow. It doesn’t even matter if they are successful, or not. What matters is that they are always selling you a product. The product might be just themselves, but something is definitely for sale. And, that hurts my feelings.
“Well, gee, Caroline, you’re really judgmental.”
Yeah, I know. Better that you understand that now, too, before you read any further. I am judgmental. We’re supposed to be judgmental. It’s a biblical truth. We’ve been told how to judge, and we’re expected to judge and discern a lot of things. If we were more judgmental, the Christian church in America would actually be making a difference in our world. But, that’s another topic, for another post.
Look, I don’t want to make money off what God has done for me. I do want to protect what I have written, so you should know everything on my blog is copyrighted. I am very possessive of my words, because they come at personal cost. However, the content is not for sell. I suspect a day may come when I will compile these posts into something I can share more easily with those who do not have internet access (yes, there are people in America without the internet), but do you imagine I would ever require a price from anyone for something Christ paid for at the cross? The things the Lord has taught me, and the testimony of how I have applied them to my life, are a work He did. He paid the price. He alone deserves the praise and glory. If what I write does not bring Him praise and glory, that will be a failure on my part to effectively communicate His goodness. If what I write ever encourages or strengthens you, He alone should receive the credit.
“But, Caroline, the workman is worthy of his hire.”
Really, you’re pulling that one out? Someone brought that up to us the other night—again. He said: “You should put it out there that Doug is available to speak. Churches will pay for him to come. They will collect an offering. It’s a good way to make a little money. You could use the money, couldn’t you? That would be good, wouldn’t it?”
Pretty sure my hair was standing straight up on end.
I understand that this is the way things are done in the American church, but we don’t happen to follow that line of reasoning. Doug will always go wherever he is in invited, whether he is asked to preach, testify, share the ministry, lead worship or just play the sax. No, he does not refuse honorariums or offerings. We are in full-time ministry, living by faith. Of course, we need money. However, he will also go anywhere the Lord sends him without an honorarium, because it is never about the money. It never can be about the money. When money becomes an objective in ministry, ministry becomes a product. That’s just not cool. Of course the laborer is worthy of his hire, but my question is, “Who’s doing the hiring?” Do we work for man, or for God? In the secular marketplace, we know we answer to the one who signs our check. She or he is the boss. We work to please them. At least, we do if we want to keep our job. Translated into ministry terms, it’s not good! You may think this is too simplistic of me, but I’ve actually been in the ministry long enough to know I’m standing on pretty solid ground here. There may be exceptions, but I don’t know of them. Does that mean a pastor should not receive a salary? No. Doug receives a salary as the Director of New Brothers Fellowship. However, our Board, and I believe this is true in every godly church, submits to God and trusts He will lead them as He leads those whom they hire for those spiritual roles within the ministry they administrate. As I told this good person—I know he was only trying to be helpful—Doug is a fine product. I could easily package and promote him. However, God would never bless that. I know there are lots of folks who will disagree with me, and if you think you need to enlighten me, let’s talk. I’m not closed-minded, just convinced of my position. I could be wrong, and if I am, I’d like to know. You just have to convince me.
So, back to the point: I’m not trying to sell you anything. Not even myself. In fact, this is true in my real life ministry, too. I don’t want people to like me. I want them to hear me. I want them to see my example, and follow me as I follow the Lord. But, don’t stop judging me. I tell this to the ladies all the time. Measure everything by the Word of God! I am a big blog of human frailty—prone to sin. All I can offer is a heart that regularly submits itself to the Lord for cleansing, realignment, and duty. I just want to be a tool in His hands. If He chooses to use me here, or there, than praise be to Him.