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Full Time Ministry

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‘Full time’ did not mean they received a salary from Jerusalem. Paul was dependent on the support of people along the way. If that support did not come, he worked to support himself and sometimes his assistants. "Yes, you yourselves know that these hands have provided for my necessities, and for those who were with me" (Acts 20:34). Apparently his assistants often worked with him. "nor did we eat anyone’s bread free of charge, but worked with labor and toil night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you" (II Thes 3:8)


Most of those who seem to be ‘full time’ ministers had no other regular occupation in which they are engaged. Paul had skills as a tentmaker. "So, because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them and worked; for by occupation they were tentmakers." (Acts 18:3) Probably the others had skills as well, but we are not told about them.  Neither are we told that any were regularly receiving support from their family back home, a particular wealthy person, their annuity investments or a lottery pay out.


They did receive support from the congregations. "And when I was present with you, and in need, I was a burden to no one, for what I lacked the brethren who came from Macedonia supplied" (II Cor 11:9). Some were more attuned to their responsibility than others. Occasionally the ministers found themselves in need. "To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless" (I Cor 4:11). This is a sad witness against those New Testament believers. 


This also shows the importance which the real ministers of God put on the wealth of this world. They were not particularly concerned with it. We do live in a different culture than they did. Traveling by foot and foraging along the way is not what we should expect of those who lift our spiritual perspective and teach us the way of God. Shame on us if we let this happen. The spirit of God will provide sufficient for those who carry His message. Blessed are those who value their treasure with God above that which they hold in a bank.