Monday, January 31, 2011

An Odd Thought

I post my sermons on-line.  I also post my newsletter articles.  I do it to make them freely available to the church.

I am flattered and gratified that I occasionally get emails from all over the world about what I have posted.  I received notes from pastors who use my sermons and my newsletters for ideas, for study, for theology.  I receive notes from people from three or four continents who find solace and spiritual substance in my sermons.  I have received notes from vacant parishes acknowledging that they use my sermons to fill their pulpit while they do not have a pastor, or, occasionally, while their pastor is on vacation or absent for some other reason.

I have told my tiny congregation that their continued struggle to exist and support a pastor provides this service to the church at large, and that our congregation is really quite a bit larger than we see on Sunday mornings.  Since my congregation does not fully support me, paying a small fraction of the "budgeted salary and benefits", I find that thought comforting too, when I ask the 'coming-from-my-flesh' question of why I continue to struggle at this task.  I know that I continue because God made me to be a pastor, and called me into this work.

But the thought crossed my mind a while back about the state of the Christian faith in this internet age where many acknowledge receiving from this congregation and its pastor, and appreciating what they have received, but to date, none has ever even asked how they might support this ministry.  The Bible says that a laborer is worthy of his hire, but today many Christians feed themselves for free and consider that the way it should be, and have no sense of how they might return to God for what they have received, or have any idea that they might have some reciprocal obligation to help the laborer continue his work from which they draw sustenance and comfort.

God takes care of me, which is good.  But there is something amiss on the receiving end when there is no curiosity about how they might return something to the one from whom they receive.  Gal.6:6, "Let the one who is taught the Word share all good things with him who teaches."  Like Paul, I have learned to live within the blessings the Lord gives me, but I wonder about the church that has learned to take but not to give.


RobbieFish said...

Dude, you should put a link on your blog to where you post your sermons & newsletter articles.

Cuda said...

Thanks for the idea!