Many men who find themselves called to ministry had a certain process they went through. They graduated from high school, went to Bible college, then to seminary and then into service of the Lord in a church. They found out very quickly that they were not schooled in how to manage a church and keep it on the right track. Often seminaries teach many things such as theology, Greek, Hebrew and church history but they leave the students very deficient in the methods used to successfully operate a church. Pastors find themselves always putting the “cart before the horse” and then wondering what in the world happened to their project.
This writer was fortunate in that I was able to spend several years in the business world before submitting to the call of the Lord on my life which was issued when I was fourteen. At the age of thirty-one I submitted to that call. I now know that if I had entered the ministry earlier in my life it would have been a disaster. The Lord knew when the time was right. The business world taught me how to deal with people. It taught me about business economics and other things. I was in broadcasting for seven years and that is where I learned to speak properly and convincingly to people. One has to speak properly and distinctly when on the air and I was “on the air” a lot. Broadcasting teaches one how to use the tonal qualities of the voice; how to raise and lower the voice in order to make a point; when to whisper and when to speak stronger. It was used of the Lord to prepare me for a pulpit ministry even before I was thinking about it. Being in the business world, I learned to deal with customers and how to handle conflict. Monetary responsibility was ingrained in my mind and practice. If one cannot manage money he will always have a problem in the pastorate. I also learned how to present myself to customers in such a way that it instilled confidence it them concerning my advice on business matters. So, the business world gave me a “leg up” on men who did not have that experience in life. My experience was in this order: high school, business world, college at 26 years of age with a family, business world again (for a short time) and then seminary and ministry. All the things I experienced gave me invaluable knowledge when it came to ministry.
One of the things that I focused on at Valdosta State University was economics. I knew how money and responsible spending worked, but these courses on economics taught me why things work the way they do. There are certain economic principles that must be followed in business or in church work, indeed, il life in general. Good business and economic principles apply to the secular business world and to the spiritual (church) world. They will always apply. But they are not taught in the seminary where people are focused on learning the things of ministry. The seminaries should install a business program and if they did many problems would be averted in the lives and ministries of those they graduate into the ministry world.
Jesus gives us a truth that will always hold true when He spoke in Matthew 26:11. He said: “For ye have the poor always with you, but me ye have not always.” He told us that society will forever have those considered poor. There will always be a “base” in society. Some will be considered rich and those riches may come and go but we will always have the poor with us. One may improve himself to the point that he is not considered poor any longer but the base of society, the poor, will always be there. No one wants anyone to be poor and lack those things which one considers necessary, but it is unavoidable no matter how much we abhor it. This is an economic reality that Jesus knew even when others did not know the economic theory behind it.
In our day, one political goal is to do away with the poor. Now, no one would like that more than me but it is not possible. They want to raise the hourly wage and by doing so raise the poor out of poverty. It won’t work because no matter to what level the hourly wage might be raised, it will still be the base pay for the society. An economic principle comes into play when those people spend their money. It will always rise upwards to those who own the companies and businesses. They make a profit in order to survive. That profit goes upward and sooner or later it is put in their bank accounts as the business is a success. The new hourly wage is still at the bottom with the monies gradually rising to those who have invested in goods and services to which the profits go. It has always been that way and it will always work that way otherwise the businesses selling goods and services could not survive. So, those earning the new hourly wage find that even though they are handling more money, they are still in the same position. Soon, another politician will come along and want to “lift them out of poverty” again. The same process will take place as before with the same result as before. “For ye have the poor always with you.” Words spoken by Someone who knows the situation.
Now, I don’t like it when we have those less prosperous than others and we who are blessed with more should use our surplus, if any exists, to be a blessing to others when we can. Many people make millions a year. I am not jealous of them because in a society which operates with the free market capitalistic model there will be those who have varying degrees of success. And, I know the principle Jesus spoke of when He said, “For you have the poor always with you….”
So, those wishing for a society where everyone will be equal will never find one that works. One can look all over the world and see countries in the dustbin of history who thought they could accomplish such a society. Winston Churchill said this: “Socialism is the philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance and the gospel of envy.” He also said: “The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.” So, the natural way society is segmented (if that word can be used) is that there will always be as “base.” Even if we raised the basic wage to $100 an hour, that would become the base and all those extra monies would flow upward to those who supply those things a society needs to live. They would just get richer with more money flowing upward in profits.
I think my point is well taken. And, it is based on what Jesus said about always having the “poor” with us. The “poor” would have more money but they would still be the “poor.” No way around it. It is an economic reality that Jesus recognized.
Reverend William (Bill) Harrell has been in ministry 48 years. He served as the pastor of Abilene Baptist Church in Martinez, GA for over 30 of those years. He can be reached at email@example.com. You can also check out his blog at www.williamfharrell.com