I'm seated in the center of this full row, and all of a sudden, I've got to go potty! So, excuse me, excuse me, watch your toes, watch your toes! I'm coming through.......
"a payment in recognition of acts or professional services for which custom or propriety forbids a price to be set, or a fee for services rendered by a professional person."
"the practice of holding a prisoner or item to extort money or property to secure their release, or it may refer to the sum of money involved."
Growing up, I truly admired the Pastors I knew, who worked full time jobs and still effectively managed, led, and enlightened their flocks. There is just something very humbling about it, to me. I just know that I am more willing to follow, trust, and be led by one who is in the trenches with me or at least standing by the trenches, pulling me out with his hand, and not some super long rope of which I'm uncertain he even has a hold.
This whole honorarium versus ransom thought came to me, earlier this year, while having a conversation with my good friend Tikina. We were talking about the requirements that this minister chick laid out, and that needed to be met before she would accept an invitation to minister somewhere. In that talk, I was reminded of a few pastors in my past with whom I had the opportunity of working closely. Some of the logic behind many of their actions and responses toward certain things, I felt, should have been HIGHLY offensive to God. That's just my opinion. One stated that he would not budge for anything under $5,000. Another said he only flies first class and stays at 5-star hotels. Then, they get there and still expect a hefty "love offering".
What happened to the honor of serving the most High being enough to move a pastor to preach? God provides the needs, but I guess Father does not know best in the situations of those who would prefer to be, themselves, "sitting high, while looking low." Maybe I'm missing something. Maybe it is okay to set demands before committing to a ministry opportunity. Maybe my mentality is just old, abandoned, and dilapidated. I don't know. I just remember able households hosting the guest preacher, providing meals and lodging when necessary. Again, the things to be admired and seen as honorable, in my eyes.
I see no example given, by Jesus Christ, of ransoming Himself. I see not one story in the Bible where a disciple rolls up saying, "Yo Jesus, we got that silver you requested as payment before going out to holler at those 5000." I certainly don't recall Jesus saying, "Tell them, I'm giving them 3 days to get my money and a chariot, before I come see about Lazarus." Crazy right? Crazy is how I see demanding anything up front before going to honor a congregation with the Word of God, passed through you.
I believe the true reward, as God chooses to provide, comes after exhibiting the obedience of GOING. I remember a guest preacher driving over 8 hours to get to the church I was attending a while back. Yeah, it would be another 8 hours going home. The love offering that day, was tremendous enough to break him down after all was said and done, and it was exactly what he needed and more. We didn't know he had a specific issue where money was needed to get him through, but I give such credit to God. In reality, this man could not afford the trip, even driven, but he went because he was called to go. He didn't know how he would make it home. No, that's all the detail you get of this young man's situation, but the point is obedience to God and His Word.
The bottom line, in my personal opinion, is that I think it's not right to ask for, demand, or require anything upfront, as a minister, preacher, or pastor. Do we not trust God to simply take care of us and our needs, as we simply "Go" in His behalf.
The definition of honorarium above states, "a payment in recognition of acts or professional services for which custom or propriety forbids a price to be set, or a fee for services rendered by a professional person." So, custom or propriety forbids a price to be set. Even as a fee for services rendered, honorarium is not something you request, require, or settle upon prior to doing your duty. Honestly, I don't recall Jesus, our ACE example of ministry, telling any of His disciples to "Go.......with the expectation of making paper." Trust me, I find nothing wrong with being given a form of payment or compensation for ministry work and going here and there to do what God calls a man or woman to do. The expectation of it, is an issue for me; and the demanding of it upfront, is even more of an issue for me. When you place such demands and requirements, you are saying to God, "I got more trust in these folks than I do You, Lord, to provide for me."
What happens when the church you're visiting pays your airfare, puts you up in that 5-star hotel, feeds you, and even pays the ransom for what God has given for free? Then you go out to do your expensive sermon, and move absolutely nothing but the air out of your lungs. Then what? Can that church or ministry get a little of that back for the poor and unsatisfactory services rendered? Sounds like madness, to be talking about church this way, right? Well, when we make it about money and turn our churches into businesses, corporations, and careers, rather than making it about what God intended, that's what you get!
HAPPY THURSDAY! I LOVE YOU ALL! BE BLESSED!!!
Bryan Hollomon Williams