It might be the case that you already heard or read about this illustration. This is the version this writer remembers,
It is about an expensive computer, a technician, and a CEO. The computer stopped working and the company cannot operate without it, the technician came, look at the equipment, turn it off and then proceed to tighten a very small screw. Turn on the computer, and “voilà”, it works again, without any problems. When the CEO asked “How much do I owe you?”, the technician simply said, “$1000”.
“What?”, says the CEO, “$1000 for something so simple?”, “I will pay you if you give me a detailed bill about why so much money for that job!” Next day, the technician came with the following detail in the bill:
Tighten the screw: $001.00
Knowing which screw to tight: $999.00.
He got his payment after that.
Usually, this kind of stories is shared by entrepreneurs, in a way to explain how worthy are they to charge for something they design, made, publish, and later sale, usually higher costs that similar things that can be bought at a popular store. They are right! It is not the same to buy something handmade than something which is produced in masses and at low costs. This writer is sure that many will agree on this. But, and there is always a but, what about a preacher?
Did you ever hear these words before, “Oh, he only works a couple of hours each Sunday”? To the ones who claim that “are they sure about it?”, “do they have proofs or evidence to say that?”
Last week, at the congregation’s bulletin, we shared a Spanish translation of the popular “The Perfect Preacher” text that is usually shared by e-mail or social media. Everyone who reads that is able to realize that there is no such thing as a perfect preacher walking on this earth. The only one who is worthy to be described that way is our Lord Jesus Christ. We all commit mistakes. We all have problems. We all have difficulties and struggles in this life. But, the preacher only works a couple of hours each week. As a preacher, this writer is not looking to defend himself, or ask for sympathy (“oh, poor me”), but just to put into perspective a reality that many ignore.
Have you visited your preacher’s office recently? I am sure it is not made of a desk covered with flowers, or ornaments in the bookshelves. There is no doubt that the Bible is what we preach and teach, but there are lots of books that help us to get to know the meaning of a word, or get a better understanding of certain topic or situation. Preachers usually have books, lot of books, and those are not for decoration, but to continue their study and preparation. Many spent years whether at preaching schools or Christian universities in order to prepare themselves to defend the truth, to reach the lost, to edify the saints, etc. When you go to the doctor, do you expect him to tell you, “Hi, you are sick, here is your prescription, bye”, without even getting to know what is going on? Or, in the worst case, not having a clue of what your symptoms or illness are? “Oh yes, and I just paid him $200 to say “Hi” to me”. We value the time that medical staff, lawyers, and other professionals spent in their preparation, but usually underestimate the same efforts that are made by preachers or Bible teachers.
“But, the only thing he does is read and cite the Bible.” That is not the truth. First, the Bible is the book that EVERYONE must read, and be also able to cite. It is not about “talking like a parrot”. It is not about giving a Bible reference to every thing someone says, especially, if the reference has no relation at all with what has been said. “Oh, how are you? Hi, I am fine, John 3:16”. So, preachers read the Bible, study it, get into it, or as some of our sisters use to say, “dig deep into it” in order that a lesson can be prepared for and understood by our brethren, that, when the reference is quoted or cited, make sense in the ears of those who are listening, or in the eyes of those who are reading.
Did you go to the preacher’s office and he is not there? “Oh, well, he might be playing golf, or watching the newest Netflix movie at home”. During the short time in the ministry, this writer have been needed to go with his wife to a sister’s house because she was not feeling well, or to a brother’s home because there was an emergency, or to visit someone who called asking for a Bible study, or visiting a brother or sister at the hospital, or door-knocking in order to let the community know that the church is there for them, or to run errands because there are items that are required for a coming event of the congregation. In some cases, it might be that the preacher is not at his office because he is sick at home, and might be working from there, or getting ready to visit the doctor, but did the visitor called first to know about him?
What does this have to do with the expensive screw? The CEO was worried because his business might lose income during the computer was not working. The screw was not what was expensive, but to know which one and how it works. A congregation might not need to have a preacher hired, but it is a very good expediency. The congregation might not find the preacher as worthy, but our heavenly Father, our Lord, and the Holy Spirit knows his worth, how?
“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! [all emphasis added, MR]” (Romans 10:13-15).
You know, we all ought to be preachers, but there are a few who decided to dedicate their lives to do it, every day. It is also true that some “preachers” are not doing their work, and that is sad, but not the rule. They are a minority. Some of them might start failing because “it might be truth that the brethren just want them to work a couple of hours each Sunday only”, so they just do that. How close are you to your preacher? How encouraging are you to your preacher? When was the last time you thanked him for what he does? Or thanked his family (they suffer when they heard those things about their provider)?
Your preacher cares for your soul, and not only yours, but for the soul of your family, of his family, of your neighbor, his neighbor, and every soul that can be reached, where the seed of God may be planted, and, Lord willing, be good soil.
How worthy is your preacher? It is not just a tool, or a screw, but is more expensive than anything else in this world, because he is also a soul that God wants back, with Him, in Heaven.
“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? [emphasis added, MR]” (Matthew 16:24-26).
Let us work together in order to please God in everything we do, remembering that we all are part of His beautiful family, and that, together, when that day comes, we can make it, get to go to heaven, and see Him face to face. To Him be all glory.