I am the good shepherd.  The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.  He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.  John 10:11-12

Ministry and self-interest are not good bedfellows. In countries where religious freedom exists, ministries can be great business ventures.  Money can be made; popularity achieved without a stigma.  Becoming a worship leader at a prestigious church can be a coveted position for the creative musician.  One can apply for this upscale job without a bona fide call into the ministry.  Self-interest reigns.

Jesus was the perfect shepherd because He knew that this position would cost Him His life yet He came anyway.  In this scene from John,  Jesus describes the difference between a shepherd and a hired hand.  The shepherd is invested to the point of death.  The hireling shows up for the job mainly for his paycheck.  When the sheep are threatened, the hireling flees.

Daughters of Promise is a non-profit ministry.  Its income depends on the gifts of God’s people, the sales of books and CD’s, and the honorariums derived from conferences and retreats.  In this country, speakers can command fees of all sizes, and do.  Self-interest can influence anyone, regardless of where they are on the pay scale.  However, the higher the fee, the greater the temptation.

Long ago, my board and I set financial parameters with regard to my speaking and concert fees.  However, in this economic downturn, I am praying about the business side of this ministry. I am wondering what would happen if fees were suspended in favor of honorariums decided upon by those who extend an invitation for me to speak.  Would I, as a traveling shepherd, be freer to fulfill my calling (as Jesus fulfilled His) if the temptation for self-interest was removed?   Just a thought.  I’m praying.

Am I a good shepherd or, do I resemble a hireling?  Only you know, Lord.  Test me and lead me in this ministry.  Amen

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