What Is Your Life?

“Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away” (James 4:14).

Poverty is a litmus test for a preacher and his wife. There is no doubt that some good-looking, charismatic preachers may be able to earn more than the average scientist or doctor, but this is far from the norm. These men may demand an unreasonable salary from large churches, while the average evangelist is earning less than the minimum wage for much harder work. Is the wife willing to live on the salary the poor preacher provides? Is the family able to live and pay bills and be self-respecting? When a couple is young and just beginning a work, who can know what the future holds? The very real possibility of poverty needs to be considered.

Preachers often are forced to move from place to place when they and the congregation do not agree. Breaking up housekeeping and moving to an unknown area can be traumatic. In fact, it can tear a family apart. Many times preachers’ wives or children may be emotionally unstable because they have no roots, no security. Preachers’ wives sometimes refuse to move from place to place which ultimately forces the preacher to find other employment. In those cases, the wife’s attitude toward this nomadic existence takes yet another preacher out of the pulpit.

I can vouch that selling a house and moving is a heartrending job. It is natural not to want to dig up roots. I knew I had to do it though, and I had to be able to just close my eyes and walk away. I finally have been able to say to our children, “Take what you really need and give the rest to the poor.” It is like watching what happens to your things after your own funeral. So much of what we have will be thrown away and I know it. It is not truly valuable to anyone but us, but we know we cannot be bound to material things and be pleasing to God. We need to remember that the important things are not material. This world is not our home.

“And (Job) said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly” (Job 1:21-22).

Solomon said, “As he came forth of his mother’s womb, naked shall he return to go as he came, and shall take nothing of his labour, which he may carry away in his hand (Ecc 5:15).”

When we consider what is really important in life, anything material is not it. Remember that we must be like those described in Matthew 25:34-46 to be pleasing to the lord.

“Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matt 25:34-40).

Beth Johnson

The Scripture quotations in this article are from
The King James Version.

Published in The Old Paths Archive