The Lord has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners. – Isaiah 61:1
Paul wrote: We are workers with you for your joy. – 2 Corinthians 1:24
My first real job was as a busboy and dishwasher at Wayne’s Grill – a learning experience in so many ways. I remember being told to come to work wearing a white shirt and dark slacks. I dressed in a light blue shirt and dark pants. Fortunately, however, my parents intervened:
“Didn’t he tell you to wear a white shirt?”
“Well,” I said, “this is probably close enough.”
“He did say white.”
I changed into a white shirt – a good move. At the end of my first eight hour shift, they paid me in cash; with tax deduction details on the outside of the brown pay envelope. It contained something around $4.62. My pay was 62.5 cents an hour. What a job! I still remember when I graduated to $1.00 per hour and even to $1.50 an hour – by means of two subsequent new jobs. I was working for the money.
Paul writes of his job – and the job of his fellow apostles: they were workers for the Corinthians’ joy. Although he was supported by various congregations and individuals in his work, he didn’t do it for pay. He did it because the love of Christ had captured his heart and he dedicated himself to bring good news to people who were oppressed by satan’s darkness, brokenhearted by the world’s abuses, and captive to their own sinful lusts and desires.
I am thankful to receive a salary as I serve as senior pastor of St. John Lutheran Church. But my great motivation is not the salary, but the same awareness of God’s mercy and love to me in Jesus Christ. There are many people who serve as ministry partners at St. John, and many more who serve in various ministries around the world for the cause of the Good News of Jesus. They do so because of a deep conviction that Jesus’ love and salvation is worthy of our greatest effort to share.
Our job as followers of Jesus is to bring good news; to bring healing and hope; to provide comfort and joy to our family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors near and far. We do so because we have received those same things by God’s grace.