Read John 13:12-17
12 After washing their feet, he put on his robe again and sat down and asked, “Do you understand what I was doing? 13 You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am.14 And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. 15 I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. 16 I tell you the truth, slaves are not greater than their master. Nor is the messenger more important than the one who sends the message. 17 Now that you know these things, God will bless you for doing them. (NLT)
It is concerning to hear of churches where younger people are urged to go into ‘full-time ministry’ on the ground that it is the highest possible calling. ‘Preaching the gospel’ is the most important thing you can do and the best way to do it is by getting theological training and getting paid to so preach.
This raises a couple of questions. One is that it assumes ‘preaching the gospel’ is largely about verbally communicating the essentials of the Christian faith. Whereas the good news of Jesus is proclaimed by acts as well as words. The other issue is that it tends to downplay the faithful witness of people who live out their faith in many mundane ways.
Speaking as a ‘full-time minister’ who has done theological training, I never consider myself doing more important work than the butcher or baker or candlestick maker who bears witness to the grace and love of Jesus in everyday life. The privileges and challenges of being a pastor-teacher are not essentially different from those of Christians who serve Jesus in often hostile settings.
All work done in the spirit of Christ is gospel work. Preaching a sermon is no more spiritual than washing dirty feet.