The Gospel Preacher’s Economy
The preacher of God’s Word has been given a gift (2 Cor 9:15). He is equipped to do the work of the ministry (Eph 4:11–12). He is not adequate in himself, but his adequacy is from the Lord (2 Cor 3:5–6), the giver of every good and perfect gift (Jas 1:17). God gives gifts to men (1 Cor 7:7), and those gifts are an entrusted stewardship of unfathomable riches (Col 1:25).
The supply of God’s Word and God’s Spirit is ample. They are sufficient for granting the gift of salvation (Eph 2:8–9), and they are adequate resources for the minister of the Gospel. God has fully supplied His church with everything His body needs to live and to serve. Each member of Christ’s body is gifted to serve (1 Cor 12–14), and there is great joy when a member employs her gift, in serving God and others.
The economy of salvation should be fluid, where supply meets demand. However, it is important that supply is distributed to meet demand. God has ordained preaching, and He has appointed preachers (Mk 3:14; Acts 10:42; 1 Tim 2:7; 2 Tim 1:11), to go and deliver the message of salvation to all people (Mt 24:14; Mk 16:15).
When the apostle Paul was intending to visit the church at Rome, he felt the burden of distributing the gift, given to him by God’s grace, writing, “I long to see you (Rom 1:11),” and “I have planned to come to you (Rom 1:13).” His objective in visiting? He wrote, “I am eager to preach the Gospel to you who are in Rome (Rom 1:15).” Woe to the preacher who does not preach; for he was either: never called to minister the Word; or he is deceived (psychology talks), or distracted (church growth), by Satan.
In contrast to the lively supply, there is a languishing demand for God’s gift. Men are not looking for salvation because they are ignorant of their need (Rom 1:18–32; 3:10–12). They are not seeking God because they do not perceive Him as the resolution to their problems, in this world, nor for their eternity. Paul could say, “Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel (1 Cor 9:16),” but few lament, “Woe to me, a sinner, in need of salvation.”
Humanity needs Jesus Christ more than anything else (Jn 14:6). The tragedy is the spiritual blindness preventing people from seeing their own plight (1 Cor 2:14; 2 Cor 4:4). Without Christ, God’s salvation, humanity is doomed to an eternity in hell fire (Mt 25:41, 46; Jude 7; Rev 20:14–15). Most people are not living their lives, as those who must give an account on the day of God’s judgment (Rom 14:10; 2 Cor 5:10; Rev 20:11).
The distraction, call it “delusion,” is so great that most people give little credence to their eternal soul (2 Thess 2:9). They press on, daily, with their mundane tasks, oblivious to what God requires of them. Even when God’s demands are acknowledged, there is a pitiful performance to rectify the sluggish economy.
Christianity is not a passive “wait until they sense their need” enterprise. Motivated by love, God sends His faithful servants (Jn 3:16, Lk 10:3; Jn 20:21), who consider themselves under obligation. Paul wrote, “I am a debtor both to Greeks and to Barbarians, both to the wise and the foolish (Rom 1:14).”
The stewardship obligation of the Gospel preacher is to suffer the burden put upon him to please God. Paul wrote, “our ambition is to please Him (2 Cor 5:9).” To please God requires faith (Heb 11:6), and faith is the very gift we speak of here (Phil 1:29). Not all men have faith (2 Thess 3:2), so the preacher preaches the Word of God (2 Tim 4:2), which opens the ears of the spiritually deaf, chosen by God (Eph 1:4–5). The needed faith comes by hearing (Rom 10:17), hence, we understand why men preach the Word.
The awkward nature of preaching is that Gospel preachers have this treasure in earthen vessels, to impart, as a spiritual gift to reluctant hearers (Rom 1:11). Whereas, the sinner does not feel the angst of his own void, the Gospel preacher must feel his hearers’ need, in his stead, and on his behalf. When the needy mock the willing giver, he must remember the self-less giving of Christ on the Cross. For the joy set before Him, He endured the wrath of men.
There is no cultural exegesis needed. All men need Christ and Him crucified (Acts 4:12; 1 Cor 2:2). No man has ever heard too much of this glorious Gospel. The cup of the preacher overflows. It is filled by his daily meditations on Christ Jesus, revealed in the Bible. How could he not share the abundant life of spiritual blessings given to him? What kind of love does not give from an inexhaustible fountain? Love must not grow cold, and the preacher is warmed by the promise that God’s Word does not return to Him void (Is 55:11). Thus, the preacher presses on toward the mark of his high calling in Christ Jesus (Phil 3:14).
If you are the object of God’s preacher’s distribution imperative, then know his burden for your eternal soul. If you are a graced receiver of the preacher’s gift, you will know, for you will be as eager for him to preach, again, as He is eager to preach. That is the growing economy of the Gospel preacher.
Spokane Valley, Washington
November 28, 2021