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April 6 – Could I Support This Man?

April 6, 2012

I do not know the author of the following… but I’ve had it for years.  I thought I’d share it because it really makes you think.

Dear Sirs:

RE: Letter of application for employment

I understand that you are looking for an evangelist to support and I would like to apply for it. I have some qualifications for the work, and this letter is an honest review of my past service in the ministry.

I am almost 60 years of age and have been in the ministry for about 25 years. I’ve never lasted very long in any one place, but once I did stay in one church three years. People say my health is not good, but I ignore these kinds of irritants and press on anyway, believing my ill-health is actually an advantage to keep my big ego in check.

I’m a strong leader and have usually wound up in charge of everything I’ve ever done. I’ll be frank with you, I’m not always popular, and have been expelled from a number of cities where I ministered. But in every case it was because of a trouble-making opposition I seem to get everywhere I go.  I just preach the truth and some people get angry when they hear it.

You may hear about the time when I confronted a very influential preacher to his face — in front of an entire church body.  But he was clearly in the wrong and he backed down.  It is that simple:  I was right, and he was wrong.  I spoke the truth, as I always do.  And the truth won the day.

I have seldom been able to work full-time in the ministry, so I have usually had employment outside of my ministry to help support me.  In some churches I received no monetary support at all, and occasionally my job even provided for paying my support staff also, though that was not the average situation.  Don’t get the idea though that I worked only with large churches.  Most of the churches I’ve worked with were small, and all of them were able to meet in a house or small hall.

I am a good preacher and well-trained in Bible truths though I often preach longer than people think I should sometimes for several hours.  And you might hear that I have even preached all night at times.

I have had some success at church planting, though some believe my methods are wrong.  What I do is enter a new city and find the local religious gathering.  I attend there until I get an opportunity to teach or speak, then I show them how their doctrine is wrong and the doctrine I teach is correct.  This usually causes a lot of division, and those who side with me generally split off the original group and with that core group, a new congregation is born.

In case you follow-up on my references you may discover some questionable events.  So I need to give my side on these stories.  Yes, it is true that I am guilty of conspiracy to commit murder.  But that was before I accepted Christ.  And it is true that because of several problems since becoming a Christian, I have been put in jail.  But most of these were short stays, though I have just been released from a four-year stint — two years in Caesarea and the last two here in Rome.  But I’ve never given up on my faith even as a convict.  Yes, I have been accused as a trouble-maker but these are false accusations, the real trouble-makers are the Jews who keep following me everywhere I go stirring up trouble against me.

Spiritually I have had an incredible journey.  Early in my ministry I had “another world” experience which I do not even talk about.  I heard inexpressible things.  And you need not worry about a charismatic influence, for I am a hard-liner on that issue, always limiting speaking in tongues to a few at a time, and though I speak with tongues myself more than most everybody else, I never do so in public meetings.

I have always worked with others helping, and usually expect a support staff as normal.  If you can’t pay them, I will figure out a way to have them work directly for me.  My staff is generally loyal to me, in fact I demand it.  Once, the third member of our staff left abruptly and walked out; but I thought at that time he was too soft for the ministry anyway.  Eventually I I had to part ways with an associate when he tried to persuade me to bring that young fellow back on staff.  I refused.  He left and went another direction with his ministry, though we are still friends.  I have been used to working with a large staff, but I admit that I’ve had a lot of staff turnover — few of them stay very long.  That’s what multiplication is all about, though isn’t it?  As to my wife, I do not give any details other than I will be accompanied wherever I go not by her but by a physician, a faithful layman who has been with me for quite a while.  He will be moving with me to wherever I go next.

There may be other rumors and accusations about me that you hear when following up my references. Strong leaders have strong opposition. So, I wish to address these other rumors and reports directly to you as follows:

  1. I can get along with church leaders, so long as they are not narrow-minded and legalistic.
  2. I am not a church splitter. The only division I ever cause is where falsehood is being preached.
  3. I am not a liberal on issues of behavior and keeping church traditions though the Jerusalem headquarters ruled gentiles can’t eat meat offered to idols, I have adapted that rule in the gentile churches — face it, the headquarters is often in the business of protecting the old wineskins. I allow the gentiles in my churches to eat idol-meat, unless it would cause another to stumble.
  4. As for legalism, it is true that I am an avid opponent of it and will do everything in my power to defeat these evil people who are enemies of the true gospel.
  5. The single woman we stayed in that first week in Europe was a new convert and she had said, “If you consider me a believer, come home and stay with me.” Besides, there were several of us anyway, and she had servants there too.
  6. I did not use a new-age seeker-approach to reach the academic community. I merely started where they were in a belief in an unknown God.
  7. It is true that I stayed several years with one married couple never getting my own house, but that was on their invitation.
  8. My involvement in casting out demons is not the primary focus of my ministry.
  9. I do not have a “death-wish,” and the only reason I refused to listen to the Christians about my plans to go back to the city where I was most opposed was because they were wrong in discerning the Lord’s will and I was right.
  10. I am not personally benefiting from my ministry and not making tons of money off of it I do not even break even.
  11. I did not even touch the big offering I have been raising for the last 20 years. I never transport the money myself and always have several witnesses hold it and take the cash to the project I do not handle offering Monies whatever you have heard from one of my former churches.

I hope you will consider my application.

Sincerely,
Paul the Apostle

Don’t be too quick to judge the usefulness of anybody in the service of the Lord.  The Lord can use us all, only, He may have to change us first.

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