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THE FINE LINE BETWEEN MINE AND THINE

A friend grew up on the mission field. For him, the distinction between what belonged to the mission and what belonged to the missionary was never entirely clear. Later, as a pastor, the graying of the line between church property and pastor's possessions led to financial abuse and an eventual conviction for embezzling church funds.

Since then, I have reflected a lot on the distinction between mine and thine. That distinction, I've found, is not always clear. Consider the following:

Office Supplies. When is it appropriate to use church letterhead? Church stamps? How much of the letter must be ministry related to justify the church's paying for it?

Telephone. Should the church pay for a call to my parents to consult about a church problem? How about the long-distance call to a pastor friend (we're both in the Lord's work, aren't we)? Should my present church pay for calls to former parishioners regarding issues related to my previous ministry?

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