“Freely ye have received, freely give.” (Matthew 10:8)
Fritz Kreisler, one of the world’s greatest violinists said, “I was born with music in my system. I knew musical scores instinctively before I knew my ABC’s. It was a gift of Providence. I did not acquire it. So I do not even deserve thanks for the music…Music is too sacred to be sold. And the outrageous prices the musical celebrities charge today are truly a crime against society.”
These are words that everyone in Christian work might take to heart. The Christian ministry is a ministry of giving, not of getting. The question is not, “What is there in it for me?” but rather “How can I best share the message with the greatest number?” In the service of Christ, it is far better that things should cost rather than that they should pay.
It is true that “The labourer is worthy of his hire” (Luke 10:7) and that “They which preach the gospel should live of the gospel” (1 Cor. 9:14). But this does not justify a man’s setting a price on his gift. It does not justify charging exorbitant royalties for the use of hymns. It does not justify unconscionable fees for speaking or singing engagements.
Simon the Sorcerer wanted to buy the power of conferring the Holy Spirit on others (Acts 8:19). No doubt he saw this as a way of making money for himself. By his action, he gave his name to our language (simony) to describe the buying or selling of religious privileges. It is no overstatement to say that the religious world today is shot through with simony.
If the dollar could somehow be removed from so-called Christian work, a great deal of it would stop immediately. But there would still be faithful servants of the Lord who would press on till their last ounce of strength was expended.
We have received freely; we ought to give freely. The more we give, the wider the blessing, and the greater the reward—good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over.
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