As I was traveling recently. I came to a stop at a traffic signal and a semi truck pulled along beside me. I do not remember the name on the logo, but I do remember seeing the following three words prominently displayed: NOT FOR HIRE. It seems that phrase means it was a private carrier, owned by a company to haul only its own goods. Since I saw those words I have been thinking about the phrase and possible spiritual applications.
As a gospel preacher and sensitive toward the possibility of being accused of, or guilty of, preaching “just for money,” my initial thoughts naturally turned in that direction. Paul clearly taught the principle of a worker being supported from the work itself (1 Corinthians 9:9-11; Galatians 6:6-8; 1 Timothy 5:18). However, a preacher who rightly receives monetary support for his from a congregation may well be motivated simply by the money and not by love of his Lord and lost souls. Paul also said that he was not among those who were “peddlers of God’s word” (2 Corinthians 2:17). Preachers must also avoid the temptation to adapt or avoid a doctrinal position, the doing of such as would assure them of plenty of money as long as they took that stance. With the general increase in preachers’ support from congregations (in recent years), and the blurring of moral and doctrinal lines in our current culture, this temptation is very real.
Secondly, elders of congregations must also remind themselves and let it be known that they are “not for hire.” Great pressure can be put on the overseers of a church to allow certain practices and stances within the church so that the numbers will increase. Some Christians may even threaten to “withhold their contribution” or lead a revolt or an “exodus” if the shepherds do not give in to their demands. The elders must stand fast (Acts 20:28, 29). They are responsible to God for their leadership and will be held accountable for their actions (Hebrews 13:17).
Finally, each of us must understand that we are “not for hire.” Jesus is our Lord (Matthew 7:21; Luke 6:46! Christians dare not “sell out” to anyone else or anything. We are to glorify God in all that we do (1 Corinthians 6:19). We cannot and must not be swayed by the “fleeting pleasures of sin” (Hebrews 11:25 ESV) or this world’s supposed rewards. Our time on earth is too short and eternity is too long to make those mistakes in values. We have given ourselves to Christ (Matthew 16:24, 25)—We are NOT FOR HIRE!