For you know how one must imitate us. For we did not act in a disorderly way among you, nor did we eat food received free from anyone. On the contrary, in toil and drudgery, night and day we worked, so as not to burden any of you. 2 Thessalonians 3:7-8
Isn’t it an eye opener?
Paul was doing his missionary visits and work while he was also working to provide for his needs and feed himself. He was not a burden to the flock he was serving. He was serving them not them serving him. He did not eat using their plates. There was no free lunch for the preacher. There was no gratis dinner for the epistle writer. He did not sleep on anybody’s bed. There was no free lodging. There was no sleep over or whatsoever. If Paul has a ministry, his is self-paid. If Paul has a mission, his is self-sustaining. Imagine Paul writing a fund raising letter addressed to himself. He was a full time worker and a full time servant. He worked to gain income. He served for God to gain souls.
I am not saying missionaries should find a secular job to sustain their ministry. What I am stressing is this – you can be a full time missionary even if you are employed full time. This was Paul’s example.
Let’s imitate Paul. You can be a preacher and at the same time go to an office as an accountant. You can serve as a small group leader even as your brain and hands are busy on marketing strategies. You can teach God’s word to the church or community while attending to your job as an engineer. You can be a computer whiz worker in parallel with your service as a music worship leader. Your work and service may be two different things in a sense but can be one in service. You don’t need to give up your lay job, unless there’s a radical call for that, to visit hurting believers. You can keep your work and keep on serving the beleaguered flock. You don’t need to be a burden to others, rather be a burden to yourself.
Two extremes exist; you work full time then serve part time or no time; or you don’t work full time or part time when you serve full time.
Open your eyes. You can work and you can serve. Full time.