Thursday, March 15, 2007

Another thought on the pastors & the money thing

Part of the problem with pastors and the money thing is the way that many pastors explain how they chose to become pastors. Many will talk about the Spirit prompting them to become pastors, often it's a "strong" version of this claim.

Of course, saying that God told you to do something is a conversation stopper. If God did tell someone to do something, then they need to do it no matter what. So saying, "That's really neat Bob, but your two failed marriages would seem to suggest, a la 1 Timothy 3.2, that you shouldn't become a pastor," really isn't a practical answer. When was the last time you heard someone counseled not to become a pastor because he was imprudent, inhospitable, pugnacious, rough, or contentious? (Again, see 1 Timothy 3.2-4.)

In contrast, consider how Paul introduces the topic in 1 Timothy 3:

"It is a trustworthy statement; if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do" (v.1).

So, first, this is something that men can "aspire" to do. It is something that men can "desire" to do. Nowhere in 1 Timothy or Titus does Paul say that only those to whom the Spirit clearly speaks should become pastors. Preaching the Gospel and pastoring God's church is an important job. There is none more important on earth. We want men to aspire to lead churches; to desire to lead churches. Or, at least, we want the right type of men to aspire to lead churches. The right type of men have the qualities that Paul then lists. (And that's why they should receive a lot of honor, and high pay. There really aren't that many men with these qualities.)

So I don't think it's a matter of the "Spirit speaking," at least not in any direct fashion. The question is this: Do you aspire to be a pastor? Is that your desire? Do you have those qualities listed in 1 Timothy 3, Titus & etc.

If so, then it seems to me that Paul says, "have at it."

Too often, however, it seems that churches are willing to make a bad bargain: We won't insist that you meet all of the criteria in 1 Timothy 3 if you don't insist that we give you "double honor" for preaching and teaching, and if you allow us to provide you only with a poor living from the Gospel.


Blogger CPA said...

That's really sharp: I'd read that "aspire" comment a hundred times and never took it seriously as actually meaning "aspire"

March 16, 2007 12:57 PM  

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