One day Jesus met a pastor who had grown-up in the church, attended Christian college and seminary and upon graduation moved from church to church working his way up the corporate ecclesiastical ladder; starting as an associate youth pastor for a mere $20,000 salary and finally at age forty as senior pastor of a large denominational church making over $75,000 with full benefits and a generous retirement package.
The pastor told Jesus he had been working very hard since Christian college and felt greatly blessed to have been called on every occasion to a church offering a larger salary and better benefits to meet the needs of his growing family. He also told Jesus he was looking forward to his rest and reward in heaven for a life of sacrificial service as a full-time pastor and preacher of the gospel. The pastor told Jesus he had done his best to follow all His commands and examples and asked Jesus if there was anything at all he could do with the rest of his life to please Him more.
Jesus said to the pastor, truly I say to you, as a paid pastor you have your reward in full. Stop accepting a money to preach the gospel today, find work to financially support yourself and your family, and please continue to shepherd My flock and preach the gospel at no charge – and then you will have treasure in heaven. Jesus went on to remind the rich young pastor that you cannot serve both God and money, it is more blessed to give than receive, and freely you have received – freely you should give.
When the pastor heard these words from Jesus he went away grieving because making a living by preaching the gospel was all he ever wanted to do, and all that he knew how to do. The rich young pastor wasn’t about throw away all he had worked so hard for by giving up his right to charge for his services as a minister of the gospel.
"Then Peter said to Him, “Behold, we have left EVERYTHING and followed You; what then will there be for us?” And Jesus said to them, “Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name’s sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last; and the last, first.” Matthew 19:27-30
"For For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel. For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have a stewardship entrusted to me. What then is my reward? That, when I preach the gospel, I may offer the gospel WITHOUT CHARGE, so as NOT to make full use of MY RIGHT in the gospel." 1 Corinthians 9:16-18
"But I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, so that I also may be encouraged when I learn of your condition. For I [Paul] have no one else of kindred spirit who will genuinely be concerned for your [believers'] welfare. For they ALL seek after THEIR OWN interests, [and] NOT those of Christ Jesus." Philippians 2:20-21
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