I’m still progressing through my “third books” and have come to the biography of William Carey written by S. Pearce Carey. I’m enjoying it immensely. In the foreword to the book (I promise I’ve read more than the foreword) we find this paragraph:
In connection with Carey’s unflagging activity, it is striking to note that he was never strictly a full-time minister or missionary. Despite his enormous translation output, and the ever-expanding schemes which he pursued, he always worked for a living, whether mending shoes or keeping school in his early days, or cultivating indigo or lecturing Sanskrit and its vernaculars in later years…in Carey we have an example of mighty spiritual achievement set by one who was really never wholly set free to the service of the Lord.
I’m continuing to wrestle with the concept of taking a paycheck from a church (much easier to do when one is not currently being offered a paycheck by a church) and the example of William Carey only serves to increase the wrestling. I’m well aware of all of the reasons why a church should support their pastors and I am by no means passing judgment on anyone. Please, for all I know a year from now I’ll be happily taking a check and enjoying another book allowance. But it does seem to me that there are some good reasons for the pastor to work to supplement his income.
First, this week as I have been working as a “landscape artist” I’ve enjoyed interacting with my coworkers, some of whom have little or no contact with Christians ever. Second, it seems to be very beneficial to ministry for the pastor to be able to say that he has not been a burden on the church financially. Third, more than anything else, I continue to be struck by the importance of depending on the Lord for His provision. And finally, it seems as though there might be more opportunities for me to lead by example and practice what I preach.
Like I said I’m not passing judgment and I haven’t made up my mind. I’m just thinking out loud here.