I can identify with The Apostle Paul who was a tent maker by day and a controversial synagogue frequenter by night. As a man and an Apostolic Father he was always working and ministering. Now sure, as a teacher of God’s Word, I would love to have a paid salary that I could live on and take home to The Family (like many Ministers do) but personally I was just never very successful at fundraising, rallying financial support or gathering a group of faithful and committed tithers to support our concerns and causes.
Therefore, as a minister I have always had to work other jobs to provide for my family.
A little disheartening at times, as I have heard it said and insinuated by others in this field that what actually constitutes a successful ministry is whether or not it is making enough money to pay it’s ministers.
If that is what determines a ministries success then I would have to admit that we are a failed ministry.
As a Minister of The Lord though, who grew up with deep convictions and an earnest desire as a young man to seek “God’s Wisdom” over “Wordly Gold”, my heart (who deeply loves Jesus) has always led me more toward putting the needs of other people first while I have learned to solely trust and see God provide for me and my own.
Now please don’t misconstrue what I am trying to say here, I am not talking about neglecting my family for a mean spirited angry God in the sky that demands a tithe or burdensome sacrifice.
No, not at all… Just the contrary.
“I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.”
~ Matthew 9:12-13
As I have looked out like Jesus over all the wandering people I have known, it has been His Mercy crying inside of me that has begotten my own personal choice to sacrifice.
Mercy Loves to see the dirt poor being clothed with nice clothes.
Mercy Loves it when the hungry are fed and the hurting are comforted.
Mercy Loves to see the weight of debts lifted and the captives set free.
Mercy Loves to see the sick healed and the down trodden lifted.
Mercy to me is a deep, God birthed compassion that just simply at times finds ourselves putting other’s needs before our own wants and desires.
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves…” ~ Phillipians 2:3
When I walk into a place and mingle with people who may be in great need and sit with people whom other “Good Christians” would never dream of even associating with… What I can say, is that I have found great, amazing, sometimes broken but still nonetheless, awesome and gifted people.
People who I can relate to… I myself always needing The Lord greatly in my own life.
As a matter of fact, it seems to me like no matter where I have been or who I have done life with, God has always graced me to find value there, great worth and value, enough to send His Own Son for.
… and by choosing this path in Ministry that my wife and I have chosen, like when we chose to go out to the highways and byways and bring the sick, the lame, the brokenhearted and bound into our services…. No, we sure didn’t make much money but I don’t feel as if we had failed at all in our calling as Ministers and neither do I feel that Our Church (The Potter’s Church) has failed in anyway.
My wife and I may not have received a salary for our work and service (and let me tell you, we worked hard).
We may not have ever obtained a group of faithful tithers that weekly give financially to support our work and service for The Lord and trust me I have asked… At one point, I was practically begging.
We may have to work day jobs to supplement our income but we are still Children of God serving Our Heavenly Father here on this Earth and we are blessed to still be growing, learning, advancing, loving, serving and Ministering to others as best as we can and as God continues to enables us to.
Quite Honestly, for as small of a group that we are, I’d put our faithful work for Jesus up against anyone’s and the lives that have been helped and transformed by the continued giving of ourselves to His people.
The long hours being ran on God’s Supernatural Love, Wisdom, Joy and Strength.
The long suffering sacrifice and continued giving away of it all…
because of our desire to lift the load a bit off of others.
Staying spent for our Lord Jesus, everything in for years with Consistent, Committed, Faithful, Hard Work, Service and Love.
I could easily go on and list a whole array of accomplishments and impacts we have been graced by God to have had over the years but I will refrain for the sake of not wanting to boast.
but just let me conclude with this.
Although we haven’t received a salary as Ministers of Our Lord, we still served The Lord here at The Potter’s Church, The Potter’s Hand and The Potter’s Field Ministries with an endless love and zeal.
Some have asked me over the years, “Is it worth it? All of the work you do for such little financial gain?”
Trust me, I have asked myself the same question many times.
I have asked Jesus, “Are we a failed Ministry Lord, because we aren’t making any money?”
Yet, through other less conventional church means, works and wisdom God has continued to faithfully provide our needs and make a way for us as we have remained faithful to all we believe he has called us to.
“My God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” ~ Phillippians 4:19
Staying spent for The Lord like this with it all in, going often without certain creature comforts and luxuries in our life so that others can have what they need in their own.
The Giving of ourselves sacrificially so others can have the burden on themselves lifted a bit…
No, I can’t expect everyone to understand why we do what we do, I couldn’t even understand myself at times, why we have been doing like we do…
And that’s when The Holy Spirit whispered to me…
The Holy Spirit said “It’s Mercy.”
Having lived like this and learning more and more about God’s Mercy which begets our own sacrifice for many years now… I can say that these following truths have helped and continue to compel us.
“Mercy triumphs over judgment.” ~ James 2:1
Our judgments of others can justifiy our choice to not help people but Mercy speaks much louder and deeper.
Mercy says “It doesn’t matter why someone is in the situation they are in, you love and you help them anyways, even if that means refering them to people more equipped for their needs.”
Judgment says they are wicked and deserve the mess they will now have to figure out for themselves.
Mercy says like Jesus said to the disciples overlooking the hungry multitudes “You feed them.”
Judgment says with all of its accusing why we shouldn’t help those who won’t help themselves.
Mercy comes in singing a song of love, empathy, and compassion, comforting the lost…
The way a Mother would sing and tuck a crying child in to sleep.
“Mercy always triumphs over judgement” and “Mercy is what The Lord desires.”
“God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” ~ Matthew 5:7
Now let me close and heed, that when we are being merciful and compassionate and helping others there are boundaries that should be kept. Boundaries that foremost protect the sanctity and well being of the ones God has first entrusted to our care.
In all of our Kingdom exploits, enough can not be said about putting your family first.
Unfortunately, this has been skewed and taught incorrectly to many of us growing up in the faith.
In my passionate pursuit of seeking God’s Kingdom first, I have found My Heavenly Father sitting me down often to remind me that in all these things I have been graced to steward over I must always remember to put my own wife and family first.
Our spouses and kids are our first ministry and our families will go on long after us to carry this torch.
Putting our Families first in Christ is a Kingdom Principle.
Strong homes make for strong communities and strong communities make for great nations.
Great Nations unifying under God’s Big Banner of Love sounds like His Kingdom here on Earth to me.
“The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.” Psalms 145:9
Jesus said “I desire mercy.”
My gratitude and prayer for all that have taken the time to read this would be for God Our Father to deeper reveal his mercy to us all and then to even further overflow His mercy to us all!
If mercy is what Jesus desires…so then let mercy be ours.
Mercy triumphs over judgement!
Under the law people were judged without mercy, condemned, stoned and tossed into the village dump.
Under Christ we are forgiven, loved, corrected and restored.
Oh Father God, teach us your loving kindness and mercy that we may extend your loving kindness and mercy as we represent your heart and will for creation and continue to preach, live and teach…
The Good News of your Heavenly Kingdom here on this Earth… Amen
In His Love and Mercy, Pastor Scott