Word Wonder

Discovery, Dynamic, Discourse, and Delight of Word

The principle of bi-vocational ministry

Not idle, but working, online.

Not idle, but working, online.

After careful consideration, I would like to point out that, for Paul as well as others, the bi-vocational ministry was an act of faith.  To start with, perhaps the category “bi-vocational” is a bit unfortunate.  I have been challenged that as ministers of Christ we have only one calling.  We, also, have only one master; we cannot serve God and mammon.  Both of these observations are true.  That is why Paul carefully addressed the proper perspective for believers who served as slaves in Colossians 3:22-24 “Servants, obey in all things… Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.”

The testimony of Peter and John can be cited.  In their specific calling to follow Christ, they deserted their nets.  Even when Christ resurrected, they were called to love Christ “more than these.” John 21:15  Also, when the administration of necessities was being debated, Peter said that he would dedicate himself to prayer and ministry of the Word.  These movings of the Spirit in leading Peter are important to understand his issues with regard to the price of discipleship in following Christ.  However, we cannot forget the admonition that John records at the end of the chapter, “If I will… what is that to thee? Follow thou me.” John 21:22.

However, I believe that just as Peter left his nets by faith to follow Christ; so Paul practiced his trade by faith to follow Christ. (1Cor. 15:10; Gal. 2:8)  Paul practiced his trade as a way of life, not just a temporary pragmatic solution (i.e. not just because he got into a financial tight spot; that idea would have undermined the whole principle of faith that he advocated.)  He practiced it and used it as a testimony in at least two groups of churches – the ministry at Ephesus, and the ministry among the Macedonians.  He taught it as a principle to follow (“Follow me as I follow Christ”) and he supported his decision based on the teachings of Christ – Acts 20:33ff  “I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel. Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me.  I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.”  And this he did for three years!  He admonitioned the same in his epistle (” Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth… And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption… Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.” Eph. 4:28-5:2)  To the churches of Macedonia, he had these things to say: 1 Cor. 4:12 “And labour,
working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it:” wearing it as a badge among the stigmata of the cross. “1Thes.2:9 For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God.” 2Thes. 3:8 “Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you:”  These Paul practiced by faith, trusting in the Lord to make the labor not in vain.

This is not to say that Paul was not worthy of support because he was.  When writing to the Philippians, in the last chapter he appreciated their giving to the ministry.  He acknowledged in Timothy that a bishop was worthy of support.  However, Paul learned to abound and to be abased equally and to exercise faith in both circumstances.  As ministers of Christ, we must follow Him, serve Him alone.  And perhaps, to keep yourself from the temptation of preaching for money, and maintain a testimony and witness in your community, you may need to get a job.

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Tueam13 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

About me

This week I have been battling the me-itis. The ministry that God has called me to is not about me. It is not about whether I am fulfilled, or successful, or having a sense of purpose, etc.
I want visible results and status and recognition. I want to have a ministry and a movement.
I want indigenous advocacy; immigrant advocacy; non-profit status; instructor certification; educator credentials; people to know who I am, why I exist and what I am accomplishing.
But am I drawing attention to The Man of Calvary? None of these things matter if He is being lifted up.

One of the reasons that I have chosen a bi-vocational ministry is to make the Gospel without charge, free, no strings attached. In a world where religion is modeled on business and politics, how can I represent the true essence of Christ’s sacrifice?
Discipleship is our decrease, but His apparent increase – in our own estimation and the perception of those to whom we represent Him.

Monpm13 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment