Blog 2290 – 01.28.2022
Most Never Make It To “The Show”
In almost all professional endeavors success varies, this is as true of preachers and teachers as it is of writers, singers, artists, and rodeo riders. Minor league baseball players refer to the big leagues as “the show.” Many talented players only get a short appearance on the big stage and the vast majority not even that. Being paid for what you love to do for most of us involves learning to love whatever work we find ourselves in more than rising from the rank of amateur to professional in our dream career.
As a young man over fifty years ago now I once thought myself “called” to the Christian ministry to preach “the Gospel.” I even went to Bible College to prepare. I dropped out before getting a degree, but for a year or so served as an unpaid associate pastor at a small church in Tennessee. The pastor who had worked a day job all the years that he and his wife spent founding the little church and trying to grow a vibrant congregation, knew he would have to turn it over to someone else someday and I think hoped to groom me for that job.
In all my years trying to be a Christian I only attended three congregations that were large enough to really support a full time pastor. By far most of the ministers I went to Bible College with and met over the years were b-teamers, if that, who never really got to go to “the show.”
When I first began this daily blog, almost seven years ago now, I hope that it might be a stepping stone into some sort of paying gig as a writer.
As I already said, most of us hope our passion will also become our profession, that someday we will get paid and well to do what we love.
Perhaps if I had stayed in Bible College, gotten that degree, or stayed in the unpaid Christian ministry, I might have landed a paying gig as a preacher or teacher, but then the founder of the Christian religion, Jesus, and the one who purportedly wrote most of the New Testament and really kick started the movement, the Apostle Paul, neither one were professionals in the sense of getting paid for there efforts, but volunteers, b-teamers, who never really made it to “the show.”
I shared more than once in my brief attempted career as a preacher and have many time since, the story of the old Christian missionary who was finally forced to retire and return home to the United States sick and penniless after forty or more years of service overseas. He returned home in steerage on a large ocean liner. On board in first class accommodations was a famous celebrity who was met when the ship landed by a crowd of adoring fans, a big brass band, and a ticker-tape welcome. After the famous celebrity and his crowd of fans had exited the dock and all the other passengers had made their way down the gang plank to hugs and kisses from family and friends there to greet them, finally the stooped and tired old gentlemen, with cane in hand, slowly and carefully made his way down the streamer littered gang-plank to a quiet and deserted dock.
As he descended the ramp a tear came to his eye as he uttered the words, “Lord, I served you faithfully all these years and no one came to welcome me home.” The tear gave way to a smile as he heard a voice, the answer to his prayer, “You are not home yet.”
Many of the things I believed as a young man I have discarding as they no longer serve me, but a few things I still believe, namely that what we do passionately is our true profession and that though we may not receive pay for it now there will be a pay day someday. Jesus even said some receive their wages here and some hereafter and that we should freely give what we have freely received.
Your friend and fellow traveler,
Amarillo By Morning