A friend of mine posted this on Face Book today:

I own a Hot Dog Stand. I sell hot dogs. I try to make a living selling hot dogs. I am open from 9-3 Tues, Wed & Thurs. Friday I work half a day (golf the rest) and never on Saturday. I have one special hot dog sale a week. Sunday Mornings from 9-noon. Then I go home and take a nap. Monday’s are my day off. I’m not making a living doing this. What do you think is wrong? Why don’t more people buy my hot dogs? Any advice?

Here’s one piece of advice that followed:

You’re not totally committed to your success in business. Your work ethic is sorely lacking. Being your own boss requires discipline, hard work and long hours that may not fit your dream lifestyle. Want to be successful? Do your research and pick a busy spot, work every day, sell the best hot dog in town, treat your customers like God sent them, keep a smile on your face, and pay the price. On the spiritual side: dedicate your business to God, pray, tithe & give offerings, walk in the Spirit. Eventually, you may reach your goal of more leisure time, perhaps even hire someone to work your stand, while you’re golfing.

It was after receiving more advice like this, my friend revealed the following:

Okay guys. I don’t own a hot dog stand. This is the work schedule of many pastors I know who are constantly complaining about their church not growing or the amount of money they’re making as a Minister. That’s what allegories are.

I’ve known this story-teller long enough to know he does not sell hot dogs. So, I smelled a rat! And I was right! To be honest I was sure he was aiming this toward pastors and when I found that to be true, there was a bit of an “ouch” that arrived with it.

Why “ouch”? Because I am a pastor and have witnessed first-hand, up close and personal, how this allegory plays out in the lives of those who should remember that they are called by God, who should remember where the power and the authority for their calling comes from.

Sadly, in my own tribe I see people who are not worthy of their hire, who do as little as possible, but demand a fair wage and even more. Being somewhat of a Type A, I have found pastoring to be a full-time and more job. I often wonder as I listen to sermons just how much time went into message preparation.

By preparation I mean, seeking out the Spirit’s direction, reading and re-reading a text, studying it thoroughly, meditating on it, memorizing it, hearing it over and over … and obeying it in their own life … before they ever step foot in a pulpit or behind a lectern or on a platform. I would even add … before they sit down and write out that message and practice it and edit it over and over.

Personally I find myself spending “full-time” doing that to be just the beginning to the “full-time” job the Lord called me to.

I will confess that as a “retired” pastor (retired from pastoring a church), that I still have a “full-time” job just coming up with a message each week (doing what I suggested above) serving a small church as their “preaching/teaching” pastor.

If some shepherds were truly paid what they were worth … well … that is a subject for another time.

And by the way … that one piece of advice the one person shared above who thought it was really about a hot dog stand … she is dead on … but not for the reason she thought. That’s why I said “ouch.”