The Hireling and The Called

The Shepherd by Julien Dupre (1851-1910)
The Shepherd by Julien Dupre (1851-1910)

Sitting in the hot tub after a long day of ministry my husband and I were laughing and talking about a 4 year-old who was discussing the state of the world with me. Then it got quiet.

My husband quietly said, “You really shocked me a few days ago.”

Not knowing at all what he was referring to my mind began to think of what could be so shocking? I couldn’t put my finger on a single thing and yet I knew this statement was important as he’d been mulling it over, so I said, “What did I say that shocked you?”

“Well, when we began to budget for Project X you said we could take your salary and put it towards it and you didn’t hesitate.”

Trying to make this moment lighter, and being sarcastic by nature I replied, “Hey, there was a time when I had to pay to be in ministry, giving up a salary is a new level.”

We laughed and then it got quiet again and I felt I had to explain myself.

“Look, it’s not as self-sacrificing as you’re making it seem. I walk in the realm of big faith. I believe that God will take care of my needs and provide for them. I don’t doubt that for a minute. He has never let me down.”

My husband just smiled at me and said, “That’s why we’re here. We’re called. It’s not about what we can get, it’s about what we can give. Others might have given up if it was about a paycheck but because it’s a mission it becomes a lifestyle.”

John 10:12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. ESV

I thought on this conversation over the last couple of days. What makes one shift from the money aspect, which let’s face it, is a real issue and one that needs to be discussed, to the aspect of the calling? The calling is a place where you could take your education and experience and turn it into a money making proposition and sell it to the highest bidder only you wouldn’t be comfortable with yourself. It wouldn’t sit right. You’d feel a missed opportunity, you’d long for the day when you’d be called back to the ministry. Honestly, there is that space between God and reality where the bills come in and the hesitation starts. Only for me, and I don’t profess to know what it is for others, the faith that while I may not have it all, I have all I need, is the sustaining force that keeps me steady when the waves of doubt come crashing in. When the promise of being all in when the stress of ministry and the expectations of what we are called to do are overwhelming, I stop and tell myself that I promised, and more importantly, I trust my Lord.

I pray that wherever you are sitting and reading this post right now, that you are sitting under a pastor who is called and not a hireling. You will know the difference when life hits. I pray that pastors who are truly called never give up.


The Benefits Of A Manual


Let me preface this by saying my car will be five years old this June. Let me also say that I read the manual of a new car for the basics. What all the lights mean on the dash, how to configure the stereo and lights on the interior and exterior, the basic everyday stuff.

Last week I somehow pressed a button which linked my climate control throughout the car. I didn’t want this as when my husband is driving he likes it a lot cooler than I do and I didn’t want to freeze. So I spent some time in the car pressing buttons trying to figure this thing out. I mean how hard could it be? I had pressed something to link it, surely I could press the same something to unlink it. Not being a very patient person and trying all that I knew how to get it work my way, I pulled out the owner’s manual and flipped immediately to the index under C for climate.

There was a whole section dedicated to climate. I began to read that pressing the configure button and scrolling down to climate I could program my car to detect air quality. I immediately changed it over to extra-sensitive as I have asthma. I could also program the seats and steering wheel to heat up on the auto start for my key and program it differently for my husband’s key and in the summer change it to cool. I was really liking the features this car had! It allowed me by pressing one button to have the car keep a constant temperature so that I didn’t have to adjust the heat or air and it did it automatically.

Five years into having this car and I have been breathing normal quality air and adjusting temperatures as I go when it could have been doing the work for me. Imagine that!

It’s the same with us. When we read the bible and discover through prayer all of the features we’ve been given we have to wonder why we’ve been trying to adjust the climate of our lives manually when we could have set everything to automatic. I wonder how much time we’ve wasted trying to figure things out when the instructions were there to be read? I wonder how many times we have looked at the book for the basics but never dug deep for the comfort features?

What if while you’re driving your life forward, you don’t have to take your hands off of the wheel and adjust anything because everything you’ve needed is right there and ready to work? All you had to do is be aware of the features and benefits of the vehicle. Today I challenge you to read your owner’s manual and discover the benefits of everything that life holds for you.