Bondservant – A person bound in service without wages. James Bond, an agent of Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Willing to give life and limb to preserve the freedom of the Mother Country. His duty was more than pay, it was commitment and honor. The word bondservant is more than just a name that you share when introducing yourself. It is a way of life that all Christians and especially full time staff members must keep as our focus. What is your focus?
Having been in full time Christian Service (minister) now for over 30 years I tend to look at things a little more realistically. I have served in Southern Baptist Churches this entire time and continue to do so until God directs differently. During this time I have been a little confused over the way Southern Baptist Churches pay their staff. In the late 70’s there was the attitude to pay us as little as possible to keep us humble and wanting. (really) In the 80’s we moved to California and since the area was more white collar and professional, they paid us as professionals. In the 90’s the midwest was catching up to this professional way of looking at staff pay and state conventions were releasing reports on how much chuches should pay their staff. In the 2000’s the pay really increased and we were looked at more about what we could bring to the table at a church, than taking care of real needs. As you can see there is no clear standard for paying full time staff. Or is there? I do know that the more people you have in your church, the more you get paid. That is proven by the many pastors who make six figures and think it might not be enough for all the people they impact. It’s still kind of all built around what you produce. Point in case: If a church is not obedient in following the Great Commission and wants to just “have church” once a week they will not grow. What kind of pastor would they want. Well, they would want to have a pastor who gives them warm fuzzies to keep them feeling good about themselves, but doesn’t rock the boat. His pay would be more payoff than pay. He would stay away from certain scriptures that might make those in charge feel guilty. If he crossed the barrier they had set up for him, he would be “fired” or discredited. I’ve just got to ask this question. “Where is God in all of this?” I have been called to churches before to “be a mover and a shaker” and my presence is supposed to immediately make scores of people flock to the church house and……GIVE. What does that make me? Deep thoughts. Maybe not so deep, but maybe very shallow.
Paul writes to Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:24-26 about the Lord’s bondservant and the characteristics of such a person. These verses apply to all Christians, but even more so to ministers. To the Christian it means that there are snares out there and if you don’t watch out you will be caught by one of them. Snares actually trap us into thinking more like satan than God. You know how satan does things don’t you? He comes in like God, but just different enough to deceive. That’s why apathy is such a dangerous thing. Apathy has a little bit of God and a little bit of satan in it. It lulls the believer to sleep and before long they are wallowing in their “sin mud hole.” Paul talks about those who have been lulled to sleep and says that a bondservant must make every attempt to teach patiently the truth of the Word of God so that they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil. (verse 26) It is very difficult to preach the whole truth though if your strings are being pulled by those who don’t want to hear it. The person who should be a bond servant for Christ becomes just a “servant” when this happens and the integrity of their life is destroyed. Paul wrote on the same subject in Titus 1:7 where he wrote, “for the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain.” You don’t even want to know what sordid means..Ok, here goes – DIRTY. Dirty gain, can it be? When I surrendered to the ministry my heart was set in stone. Live for Christ and He will take care of the rest. Through the years and through many pastors who “guided me” I have come to realize that I’m kind of drinking the koolaid here. Oh, I’ve not attempted to get dirty gain at all. But I have been lulled into the same thinking of those who are hired and not called. For that I have repented. The call on my life that took this bond servant out of a lost family situation to a wonderful Christian Family format is still very real today and very strong. The part that weakens it some is the injection of a very worldly way of taking care of my needs financially. At times I feel the very real pressure to compromise the Word of God to please people so they will keep paying my salary and that is wrong. I have served with other minsters who openly compromised the truth to “get along” with those whose hearts were darkened. This cannot be and will not be in my life anymore. It’s either all real, or none real. I choose ALL. You may say, “why be so transparent about this bondservant issue?” I believe Paul is saying and would be saying the very same thing today. How can I say any less. If we are going to be true and real, then lets be what the Bible teaches us to be – bondservants. If things are wrong in your life, then get them right now and quit compromising the Gospel of Jesus Christ. THIS is God’s Plan.
The Pilgrimage continues…..