Good afternoon folks, this afternoon’s letter to you is mostly my thoughts on the issue of “Holy Men, or Women.” I write this wanting to get your thoughts and opinions. So, if you would, after you have read this please drop me a note in the comment section with what your thoughts and opinions are on this subject matter.
Before a person can decide if they themselves or someone else can be a Prophet we need to know what the definition of the word is. So, I checked into the Google Dictionary and then into the Merriam-Webster Dictionary for reference points. I am going to put their thoughts down for you so that we can have good talking points to help base our conversation on.
Via Google: the world ‘Prophet’ is “a person regarded as an inspired teacher or proclaimer of the Will of God.”
Via Google the word ‘Profit’ as a Noun: a financial gain, especially the difference between the amount earned and the amount spent, excess.
Via Google: as a Verb: obtain a financial advantage or benefit, especially from an investment.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary describes the word ‘profit’ as “the excess of the selling price of goods over the cost.” Also: “The ratio of profit for a given year to the amount of capital invested or to the ‘value of the sale.’
I on purpose left the Merriam-Webster Dictionary and their definition of the word “Prophet” for last because it gives more definitions in their answer. When I get finished giving you these definitions I will give you my personal thoughts on this matter. If you would, then please give me your thoughts on them.
1.) One who utters divinely inspired revelations.
2.) A writer of one of the Prophetic Books of the Bible’
3.) One regarded by a group of followers as the final authoritative revealer of God’s will: Jesus Christ, Muhammad
4.) One gifted with more than ordinary Spiritual and moral insight especially: an inspired poet.
5.) One who foretells future events.
6.) An effective or leading spokesman for a cause , doctrine, or group.
7.) Christian Science: A Spiritual Seer.
Human terms: An Economist who is regarded by many as a reliable (Prophet) of future developments in the global economy. Example: Warren Buffet.
So now, a Prophet, Profit, or both a Prophet and Profit.
Okay, so in your thoughts, what is a Prophet? To me, a Prophet is definitely a ‘Holy Man, or Woman’, a Teacher, a Seer, one who has a much deeper understanding of the teachings of God than the average person. One who gives their life to God and His teachings. One who does these things then speaks the insight and knowledge they have been given to any who may ask of that knowledge and in some cases give this knowledge to those who did not ask and who do not want to hear such knowledge.
Profit: what does profit have to do with being a ‘Holy person?’ Does money have anything to do with being a Holy Person, a Preacher, a Priest, a Minister or a Church? Should we as children of God or as Ministers/Teachers of His Word base our lives on income? Should a true ‘Teacher/Prophet’ of God’s Word own 8 homes, $5,000 suits, $10,000 watches and a fleet of fancy cars? Should a Preacher be making a million dollars a year from the Church he ‘serves?’ Even with a Church Congregation that has 10,000 members and an offering plate each Saturday or Sunday of $100,000 what is wrong with the Preacher having a salary of $12,000 per year to go with a free Parsonage, utilities and a gas allowance for their vehicle or even a Church supplied vehicle? Why is that not enough? Should not the Church offerings be spread out to the Church members in need first then to the local community and or to missionaries? How about local food banks and homeless shelters? Why does so much have to go to the ‘top end?’ How much is a Church Congregation paying the Elders and the Deacons? Should the Elders and Deacons be getting paid at all? Are the local Churches sending all of their ‘profits’ to a regional ‘Dioceses’ where Bishops and Cardinals decide where funds should be spent? Has the Church you attend become nothing more than a business? The only excuse that I can think of for Churches having to pay their Preachers such a large salary is because of the cost of their college education at these ‘Christian’ schools. Personally I attended Carson Newman Baptist College in Jefferson City Tennessee and I realized that a person attempting to get their PhD. in something like Theology with a minor in Preaching could have a College loan debt of $100,000.00 plus by the time they graduated. Folks, it takes a long time to pay off a debt like that, the payments are high so it requires a high salary to be able to pay it. Here is my thought on this issue. Colleges like Carson Newman has thousands of students who are not studying for the Ministry so I believe that for the students who are trying to become Ministers couldn’t these ‘Religious’ schools cut these students a break like say let them attend at %50 the cost of the other courses? Or, being that they are ‘Religious’ schools couldn’t they only charge these students the cost of materials like books and write off the rest of the ‘fees? No Ministers first priority should have to be how big of a salary they can get so that they can pay off their college debt at a Religion based College!
Profit, a verb, a financial benefit, especially from an investment. Yes, a College tuition is an investment both in financial terms and in physical effort terms, yet is personal profit what should be driving a person who is trying to become a Minister of God? Should not Colleges who say that they are Religion Based be ‘not for profit’ schools/businesses? Our goal as followers of God should not, can not be, to see how much wealth we can amass. When non believers see Preachers who are at the Pulpit who are dripping in the trappings of wealth who are begging the Congregation and/or those watching or listening on TV or Radio to donate of their hard-earned income to the Church and to God, what do you think this makes them think? How many people have to think that a good chunk, or all of their offerings are going into the pockets of the Preacher? Folks, for profit Preachers and for profit Christian Colleges are a spike in the Cross of Christ.
Can you be a Christian or a Preacher and be blessed by God with great wealth, yes you can. But, what do we do with that wealth once we are blesses with it? Do we hoard it? Do we invest it in the stock market? During the time of Christ here on Earth the Jewish Religious Leaders of the Day taught, and rightfully so, that everyone should give the top %10 of their earnings to God, yet Jesus spoke to us that we must do better than these ‘Leaders’ in our actions. If you or I for example became well published writers, whether we are Preachers or not, and our income each year was one million dollars, have we developed a million dollar lifestyle? Do I need a bring home income of $900,000 per year? If I had such an income should I not be gracious to the Church I attend and to the community in which I live? Could I possible survive if I donated $900,000 each year to charities and lived off of the remaining $100,000 per year? My current income is about $30,000 per year, we own a 13-year-old car with about 180,000 miles on it yet it is still working well enough to do the things that we need it to do. The huge thing for us is, it is paid off, we have no payment on it. We own a house that was built-in 1961 and it is the best house we have ever owned, (actually it is the only house that either my wife or I have ever owned). To be honest we own %10 of it and the bank owns the other %90 but we feel very blessed to be allowed to have this home to live in. The house is the only thing that we have payments on except for some credit cards so we are surviving financially as long as nothing major tears up. But the thing is, we feel very blessed and thankful to God for his kindness of what we do have as we know that there are billions of people on this planet who have it much worse than we do. We only have a couple of hundred dollars in the bank but, when is enough, enough? We have food, we have a roof over our heads, we have electricity, we have a car that works, what have I got to complain about? We as Christians must learn to accept and to cherish to good things that we have been given and to quit coveting more. For that which we covet, that which we worship, this becomes ‘our God.’