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Gospel Magician or Hireling?

Guest Author - Dennis Regling

I had a great blessing last weekend. I was invited to do a family program for a church in Dallas. Dallas, Pennsylvania, that is.

Over 300 visitors to the church heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ on Saturday afternoon. Folks who normally would not attend church came so their children could hunt eggs, watch puppets, make crafts and see the magician during the Resurrection Program. (Easter Egg Hunt to the visitors.)

A few illusions illustrated my presentation of the Gospel as I preached repentance, faith and service to the crowd. Praise God, he is stilling using the foolish things (me).

1Cr 1:27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty

Speaking with the pastor the evening before, I discovered I was not the first choice. It seems that the church had contacted a magician in the nearby Philadelphia area. This magician advertises himself as a Gospel Magician.

Unfortunately, this man refused to come because the church couldn't afford his $900 fee. He was available that day, and the church was less than an hour from his house, but he chose to stay home and watch football rather than preach the Gospel for less than his $900 for a half hour program.

John 10:12-14 But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.I am the good shepherd, and know my [sheep], and am known of mine.

This man is a hireling. He cares not for the sheep. He cares not for the lost. He put a price on the Kingdom of God. He'd love to see you get saved, but only if you have the admission price.

The Bible says Jesus Christ, the Holy Son of God paid the price. That was the reason for the program, but this man stands outside the gates of Heaven scalping tickets.

The church contacted me, and I jumped at the chance to drive 400 miles for a half hour program. The fee? I asked only that the church find my wife and I a bed. I have never put a price on the Gospel. Pro 23:23 Buy the truth, and sell [it] not; [also] wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.

The church gave me a gift, an honorarium, if you will. It covered our travel expenses including a nice meal on the road. We stayed at the pastor's house and they fed us breakfast and packed us a nice lunch for the trip home.

God paid for the trip. Amen. He does provide. But we received something greater than the $900 the other fellow was asking. We made new friends. We preached to the lost. I was able to witness and share one on one with several folks. And a lot of kids had a great day.

Now I have nothing against a professional making a living. In fact, I really have a problem with performers who will cut their fee or low-ball just to get a gig. As professionals, we should charge a fair fee and give the value the client has purchased. Price-cutting hurts everyone, especially the the individual who runs his business this way.

BUT - this is a church program. A man that contends to be a Christian should be more concerned about souls than money. Matthew 6:19-20 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.

The reward I received that day is far greater than the filthy lucre that other magician was desiring.

I say this not to puff myself up. Indeed, all true ministers of the Word that I know would have done the same. I did no great thing, I did only what I ought.

I write this that perhaps the man who gave away his opportunity might read this and repent. I write this, that if you are calling yourself a "Gospel Magician," (a term that implies a minister of God that uses illusions to illustrate the message), that you might not fall into the trap of greed.

Please, if you are a Christian, be like the good Shepherd, not a hireling. Honor God with your talents and he will reward you in ways you cannot imagine.
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