During my second year of pastoral ministry, I attended a pastors' conference. Of the many speakers, I now recall only one, and all I remember is his conclusion. At the time he was the pastor of one of the largest churches in the nation, a successful author and renowned speaker. As he approached the end of his long ministry, his message was a reflection on his experiences.
He listed some of the benefits he had enjoyed as a pastor. He described the free suits one of the members of his church had purchased for him and the free car provided for his use. He mentioned the beautiful house in which he lived at the church's expense and the generous salary.
The list was long and impressive enough to make me, pastor of a small and struggling church, both envious and cynical.
I grew increasingly uncomfortable as he continued, because I knew where all this was heading. "What if I had not been given all these benefits?" he was going to ask. "Would I still serve my Lord?"
I knew what the answer would be. ...1