Feed the sheep and they grow you enough wool to keep you warm in the winter. A preacher from New Finland, who knew me as a youth in my home church, gave me this counsel upon returning to our church and finding that I had just entered the ministry.
He said, “Good advice is like pure water; it comes from a safe source. It is like a precious jewel; its value is discovered by polishing and shaping over time.”
Luke 10:2-4 and 10:7 gives us both a prerequisite and a guarantee.
The Prerequisite. The pastor, who is also a laborer, must see the sheep as God’s great concern. He must find them, and by love, patience, intercession, and tireless search, bring them into the fold. Luke 15:7 presents the mind of God towards our success in seeking and finding the lost sheep. The chief joy of a pastor’s heart is the joy of repentance, the miracle of conversion, followed by the testimony of water baptism, and daily commitment of a sanctified life. Our job, then, is not over in a day! I once heard someone say, “the conversion is the miracle of a moment, but the making of a saint is the task of a lifetime.” Something that adds to the joy of a pastor’s heart is the experience of God’s matchless grace, which allows us to become laborers with God.
The Guarantee. The laborer is worthy of his hire. Diligent labor will be justly rewarded. As we think on these things, remember God will not leave us bereft of material necessities; healthy sheep will provide wool for the shepherd.
There are three principles that should always guide us in matters of giving for the support of the ministry:
- All giving must be based on scripture. Our hearts must be just before God and men in these matters. We will be safe when the scripture endorses our practices (Proverbs 3:9; Malachi 3:10-12).
- All giving must be of the giver’s freewill. There should be no manipulation or gimmicks (Leviticus 22:18; 1 Corinthians 16:1-2).
- We cannot endanger the sheep by taking too much wool; they need it for their warmth also. One shepherd posited that relieving the sheep of a sufficient amount of their wool was necessary for a healthy coat free of lice and a guard against impaired mobility (John 10:13-15).
Let’s set our hearts on these assurances as we handle eternal merchandise for eternal glory. The main thing must always remain the main thing. If we love Him, we will feed His sheep and His lambs, and He will keep His promise to us.
Bishop John Cummings began his ministerial journey over 40 years ago in Guyana, South America. He served as a pastor and leader until his migration to the US in 1988. He has been pastor of Restoration Temple Assembly of God from February 1988 to present. He also served as Presbyter of the BSI Section from 2008 to 2013, before being appointed Executive Presbyter of the NY Metro area, where he still serves.