Podcast episode 23
Luke the Sought-After Preacher - Christians Who Sell Jesus
This series on "Christians Who Sell Jesus" takes profiles that represent real-world scenarios wherein well-meaning individuals are actively engaged in the Jesus trade, often unwittingly.
Luke is a gifted preacher and speaker. Some of the biggest summer camps book him years in advance, and large churches love to invite him to present at conferences.
In the early years of his preaching ministry he would only receive honorariums as a free gift that churches might give him to help cover expenses. But now he receives more requests than he can commit to. At one point an old pastor told him that he needed to think about charging upfront for speaking engagements. This would help limit the amount of requests and enable him to start a college fund for his kids. His family agreed that this was a wise idea, and after considering it prayerfully, Luke began making it clear that he would require X amount in payment in addition to all of his travel expenses before agreeing to speak at an event. At first he didn’t like how this exchange felt, especially when smaller, likable churches couldn’t afford what he asked. But as the money started to flow, after a while he got used to it.
Now and then, when Luke has quieted his heart and is out on an evening walk with God, conflicted sentiments crowd his thoughts, and his conscience wonders whether he’s doing the right thing by putting a price tag on sharing what God has freely given him. But he’s quick to tell himself, “At least you don’t charge as much as your friend David does. He charges twice as much and doesn’t even have the greatest things to say. Most respected Christian celebrities charge for speaking. Besides, how else could you help your kids with their college expenses? God wants you to care for your family.”
Luke is a classic example of a man who bases his pursuit of holiness on people around him instead of on the standard of God’s Word. As long as he’s a little better than “that other guy,” he feels justified. He has believed a few lies: 1) putting his kids through college is more important than obeying God, 2) God is incapable of providing for his children through any other means than the ill-gotten gain of peddling God’s Word, 3) as long as his sin is not as extreme as those around him, God is pleased and honored, 4) widely-respected, famous evangelicals are a better standard to live by than Scripture. While Luke is not actively trying to do evil, he has become complacent with the default state of affairs around him and is content to go with the flow. He’s comfortable with worldly ways of thinking about money and ministry, so why rock the boat?
Music: "Amazing" by Liborio Conti, https://www.no-copyright-music.com