Contact Me

If you enjoy my blog and would like to contact me, you may reach me at this email:

Some of my stories are published in:
A Cup of Comfort Devotional for Mothers and Daughters (Adams Media, 2009)
Chicken Soup: What I Learned from the Dog (2009)
Love is a Flame (Bethany House, 2010)
Extraordinary answers to Prayer (Guideposts, 2010)
Love is a Verb (Bethany House, 2011)
Big Dreams from Small Spaces (Group Publishing, 2012)

Thursday, May 31, 2012

It's Not About the Paycheck

A couple of years ago, at a church social,  I was getting acquainted with an elder at a church. (Not our church.)
 After telling me about his work as a lawyer, he asked politely what I did.
I said that I was a freelance writer and a musician but I used to work in children's ministry.
He asked, "Did you get paid?"
I was a little surprised that he asked me that. I said, "as a matter of fact, I did."
The man's demeanor changed toward me immediately. He asked me several questions about children's ministry and listened respectfully.
I went home a little sad.
I wondered, would my conversation with the elder have ended quickly if I'd said, "No, I was just a volunteer."?
As a writer, I frequently get that same slightly condescending attitude about my writing. And yes, I still get the question, "Do you get paid?"
Honestly, I try not to get huffy, but why would someone ask that question?
That's a rhetorical question, friends. I know why. It means:
"You must know what you're doing if you collect a paycheck for this kind of work. Otherwise, you're just a willing set of hands and feet without any particular expertise."

I guess I shouldn't be surprised. But you'd think that people who worship and minister in churches and know scripture would be the first ones to realize that it is God who equips us for His work. And sometimes a paycheck is less validation of our work than simply knowing we're doing precisely what God wants us to do.

I like this quotation:
"God doesn't call the equipped; He equips the called."
My work is worthy and my gifting, valuable even if it doesn't collect a paycheck.
Because HE has called me to sing, to play, to write, to work with children, to teach Sunday School.
God gives us special gifts and talents and helps us get proper training.  But it is His power that enables our work to produce fruit.
I've seen many volunteers who produce enormous harvests. And salaried workers who produce almost nothing.

Wouldn't it be great if, instead of getting the question, "Did you get paid?" someone asked, "Did you see fruit?"

Of course, there are hidden harvests that we will never see this side of heaven.
  1. But to receive a letter from someone whose life was touched by something I wrote.
  2. Or to get a hug from a child who felt loved and affirmed, and learned something about God's kingdom.
  3. To know I am being faithful to whatever task God has called me to.
Would you be able to attach a price tag to these?

It's nice to get paid for what you do,
but if God called you to do it. . . 
wouldn't you work at it regardless?

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward." (Col. 3:23 NIV)


  1. Makes a lot of sense to me. I have been paid for many years for directing choirs, soloing (vocal) playing my trumpet in churches and synagogues. It never bothered me to cash the check that the Lord provided. With it I fed and clothed my family and was encouraged to contribute what talents and gifts I was given. When God is the provider, who cares where and when the provision comes from as long as it is done honestly and with sincerity?
    I certainly don't begrudge paying for these services when others provide them. They earn their salary by expending time and talent for my benefit.

  2. I agree, Clark. It just that it disturbs me when leaders in churches still assign greater value to the work of those who've done a job that was paid by men.