THE PEARL OF GREAT PRICE
by Pam Clark (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I heard another preacher talk about his big income. Well, I guess it’s big depending on the eyes of the beholder. It’s amazing though how I hear different ones talk about their six figure plus incomes. And they are willing to pray for you – and some have been at a price. I learned how to stay away from those!
But I did go up to one for prayer to ask for the right “side job” as a minister because side jobs can really take a lot of your time and energy focus that you know you can use for what seems like the better things. And these days you can wonder if people understand or respect callings at all.
When the money is not flowing in from ministry, you still need to live and sometimes it’s a big challenge. Especially when it seems not so hard for others, like these with their six figure plus incomes. This man said jobs and ministry were all the same, and to believe God. Well, I could be wrong, but I had a hard time seeing it that way. I’ve been in full time ministry and I’ve been in full time work; there is a difference. And I’ve done both at the same time, but never gotten rich.
Now I know there are the ups and downs in life and in finances. I’ve been there, both ways. And there is a place where worrying about money does become a problem, and there is a place when the ministry you give does not bring in the finances you need to live. So you go to secular work rather than burdening people with your problems or developing a bad attitude about it.
The apostle Paul didn’t want to burden the people and did talit making (the prayer tents). And I even got to the place with all the “junk” appeals that are out there where I felt the Lord tell me not to even ask for money. In the past it didn’t bother me that much to ask because I knew where it was going – to the work of the ministry. And when I have it, it still does. Then I consider that apostle Paul did his greatest ministry from a prison cell. Oh my.
I love doing work for ministry because when “the preach” comes on me as it often does, they don’t get as offended. (LOL, I’ve lost jobs over “the preach.”) I believe ministers should be as nice as possible, but there can be that prophetic message burning like a fire in your bones and who can help but prophesy? I never want to quench that.
Later many do come to say thank you. But in the meantime, you want to eat or go somewhere sometimes that is not always ministry related. I like having a personal life. My best work comes from writing more than speaking, I believe. Traveling ministry is hard for the single woman. I admire the ones who do it.
If you have a need and don’t make it known, sometimes people who are willing to give don’t. I don’t give fake promises over it, and the people of God have blessed me generously in the past and they got a lot of prayer for it. I give thanks to God for what they did and celebrate them before Him.
I know the Spiritual principles, too, that when they give, they also get a portion of the prophetic spirit in my life, as well as what they believed for, and then they can decide what to do with that! I believe the Lord puts ministers on a hard path for His reasons. One big one is that it gives them true empathetic compassion. God loved Job and gave him a hard time. Well, the devil did, but God allowed it.
I have learned the message that just because bad things happen doesn’t mean it was God (who is a good God if you are serving the right One) who wanted it to happen. He does allow things for our growth, and learning how to call on Him on a regular basis is a good habit to develop. I love what RW Shambach used to say: “God calls the worst ones first to be an inspiration to the rest.” Oh, God knows how to keep us humble!
But not all humbling is from the Lord, but He will allow it so we will seek Him out. I’ve learned a lot in seeking “the whys” of why things happen the way they do. It gives you wisdom, and patience seems to be an ever learning virtue!
Life can be hard for anyone, not just the ministers. I have a high stress level, but I have to believe that God either put some of that on me or allows it for His purposes. I don’t find it so easy to make disappear and most don’t want to face what I face. (They have their own problems.) When people want to know about your gift, they really don’t want to know about the price you paid for it. Just make it impressive.
You have to work to keep your stamina and your drive and your outlook. Some days I am glad my life is almost over. You overcome things. As Rick Joyner says, “You have authority in the places of your afflictions because you overcome.” True! It’s a spiritual war we are engaged in, whether we want to believe that or not, the devil is the one going for the throat, and God is the One who has all the answers.
The disciples said when everyone was departing from Jesus and He asked “Will you go too?” and they said, “Where would we go? You are the One who has the words of eternal life!” And you can find out to your surprise that not everyone is seeking that so much. People want the benefits but not the cost of admission.
God is compassionate and if we are wise we will learn to observe and discover His eco-system. I live in a country setting right now and need to use firewood in the winter. Finding it sometimes can be a challenge, because you want the right kind and the right price. Not all firewood is the same. But you think about the wood when you deal with it a lot, and you use different kinds and sizes even just to get it started or to keep it going. Even the pine cones can play a role in a quick start.
There is a real eco-system with wood. We use trees for so much, building houses, furniture, and so many other things, and when trees die, they are great to burn, to cook and keep warm. Even matches are made out of wood! Getting kindling wood will help you keep your yard picked up from those loose sticks that fall in the way of your mowing. Trees offer shade, oxygen, beauty, a place for wildlife, some offer food, there is just a lot to trees!
There is a real eco-system to just using trees and the more we learn about God’s eco-systems, the easier it is to understand and live life. There really is a plan and sense to it. A stress level comes when the ideal systems don’t work out so well. As shared, I have encountered a lot of stress, but also know that I am not alone in that.
Being around church and the people in the church, if I wanted to start a wailing party, it wouldn’t be that hard to find a crowd who could do it with sincerity. I know some people with some hard life situations and feel I could hold my own with the rest of them!
Oh, you can always find someone who has it better or worse than you do. My real battle is for the patience and wisdom to deal with them – and myself! If I was God I would want to give everyone everything they wanted, but I think they made a movie out of that. It didn’t work.
Today as I had another “temporary” time of frustration over some things, and the enemy who is ever present to give you a shallow or erroneous view of things, the battle is again on for the faith – the faith in God to believe and overcome.
Feeling some stress again, I had to say, “Lord! I am working ~again~ to hold on, to have patience, to believe right, to put up with this junk I see in the church and the world, but this is like sand in the oyster – it’s really irritating me! To which He so quickly replied, “And yes, it’s a pearl of great price.”
Okay, He is funny. Who can argue with the Lord? At least He is talking! So press on, this may turn out better than we think! I’m sticking with Him.