December 4, 2021

Pastoral Nuggets: Salvation is Free – But it Ain’t Cheap!

It cost nothing to surrender your life to Jesus and become a Christian. Salvation is free.

However, we should never make the mistake of equating “free” with “cheap.” Although it costs us nothing, it cost the Son of God His life. Free? Yes! Cheap? No way!

You can apply the same way of thinking to ministry. Although salvation is free, ministry isn’t cheap.

Effective ministry will cost you something! I once heard a radio preacher tell his audience, “This program was made possible today because ‘somebody prayed’ and ‘somebody paid!’” I thought to myself, “Amen!”

I remember hearing a pastor encouraging his congregation to give financially as he was about to receive a “love offering” for a Southern Gospel quartet that had sang at his church that evening.

He said, “You can look around and see all the equipment this group brought with them. (They had a live band) And you saw that big bus parked in the parking lot.

Now, I don’t want to insult your intelligence by telling you that all of that cost money. However, I do want to remind you that when they leave here tonight and pull up to the pump at the truck stop, they can’t fill that bus with diesel fuel and walk in to the cashier and tell them, ‘Jesus paid it all!’ No! They have to pay with money just like everybody else!”

Years ago I heard an illustration about two old men sitting on a bench talking. They were members of the same church. Evidently the church was in some sort of fundraising campaign. One of the gentlemen looked at the other and said, “You know, all I ever hear out of the church is: money, money, money! They always want money for something. If it’s not for this, it’s for that. And if it’s not for that, it’s for something else.  Money, money, money! Ugh! That’s all I hear!

The other gentleman, with a very contemplative look on his face, replied, “Yeah, it kinda reminds me of years ago when my boy was born. My wife and I didn’t have much money, but that didn’t change the fact that she was constantly telling me that we needed to buy stuff for that boy. It went from diapers, to baby food, to baby shoes, doctors’ visits, clothes, baseball gloves, football cleats, to cars, and everything else in between.

That boy cost me a small fortune! But you know what? My boy got killed in a tragic accident when he was about nineteen years old. We buried him in the church cemetery. Now, my boy doesn’t cost me anything.” The moral of the story is this: If something is alive and worth having, it is going to cost you!

Why I am telling you all this? Because even at the association level, the same principle applies! Salvation is free – but ministry ain’t cheap!

That’s why you’ve been hearing from me regarding the financial need we have regarding replacing two sections of roofing and making repairs to the front entrance of the association office. (By the way, I have asked all our churches to give financially at some level to support this. Many have. Many have not. Do you know how much your church gave? You may want to ask!)

This is also why I am encouraging you to support our Children’s Home collection this month. And this is why I will be asking you to give to support the back to school backpacks again this year for our partnership school, Berta Weathersbee. Again, salvation is free, but ministry ain’t cheap!

Whether it is your personal ministry, the ministry of your church, or even the ministry of the association, a ministry that is alive and worthwhile – will cost you something!

So, I encourage you to give financially, with a cheerful heart, to support the work of the Lord!

Brother Aaron

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