Paul was not impressed with people who wanted to evangelize but not work. His remedy was blunt: if they are so spiritual that they don’t need to work, let them be so spiritual that they don’t need to eat! (1Thess 4:11,12; 2Thess 3:10). So from earliest times we see the false dichotomy: the dualism that sets the spiritual above the material.

From such a perspective we exalt “the ministry”, as if preaching was more spiritual than plumbing. Of course we overlook the fact that the word “ministry” really means “service” which has connotations of the mundane and the material rather than the ethereal. But to be spiritual means to do what God wants us to do, the way he wants us to do it and for his glory. So preaching can be grossly unspiritual as an expression of human energy expended to promote the preacher’s reputation. Whereas a plumber can really serve God and bless people by fixing a broken toilet; nothing can be more spiritual!

So we need to revisit our perception of ministry. Our spiritual service is to do in our bodies whatever the Lord asks us to do. Church workers are not the super-spiritual; they are those who have been withdrawn from the front lines of the battle to be support staff, to equip God’s people for “works of service” (Eph 4:12). It is the “people” who are the real “ministers” – every day they go to work. Jesus told some to leave their nets, to quit their jobs; others wanted to but he sent them back to live in the world. Either way it’s full time ministry, full time work. The only question is whether it is being done to God’s glory!

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Or, you can listen to chapter 10 as audio files: Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.