Paul made tents and sold them at a fair price. My friend makes water heaters. I make books, Bibles, and other media. I am not independently wealthy and so I work. I could work as a farmer and make everything that my family needs on my own but there are hundreds of farmers and others who are willing to make the things I need and even some of the things I want. If I can make something someone else is willing to pay for, I can use that money buy what I need. This works out to everyone’s advantage because, when you are producing a lot of one thing, you can make more of them faster with less investment of time and resources per item made. This makes it possible for people to meet not only needs but also wants. That is the system that makes publishing among other things possible.
I have a great job, not only am I making money to put food on the table, I get to help produce books that will change lives. I am motivated to do my job by both money and ministry. I would probably help a little with a publishing project even if I was not getting paid and I do help at church without pay, but I do not spend nearly as much time doing volunteer work as I spend working for money. Is this because I am greedy and selfish? No! God has given me the responsibility of taking care of my family, if I did not do this I would be disobeying God (2 Thes 3:10).
Publishing could be done with an all volunteer workforce, or at least be run as a non-profit organization, but much more is being produced, and more people are being reached through the ministry of for-profit organizations than would be reached otherwise. Even churches, in most cases, pay preachers and missionaries. This does not mean that they are not ministering, or that they are not motivated by the opportunity to minister. No matter what we produce, or what service we provide, as Christians our motivation to work should be twofold. Work provides an opportunity to reach others for Christ and it provides food. For some their only ministry opportunity may be to talk with coworkers. For others, sermons and visitation may be their form of ministry. My at-work ministry is making Bibles and great books.
Note: This was originally posted on another blog so I am copying the comments below.
|Luke said: “Publishing could be done with an all volunteer workforce, or at least be run as a non-profit organization, but much more is being produced, and more people are being reached through the ministry of for-profit organizations than would be reached otherwise.” No doubt. But then it would be inacurate to cast the issue in tems of no profit vs. for profit. The issue is more about reasonable profit. Should Christian publishers have the same margins as non-Christian publishers? If secular publishing houses can get by with lower margins there seems to be little excuse for Christians to be charged for more. If you would like to argue that you are jsutified to have greater margins because of what you do with the money, then you should be able to demonstrate that.|
by Oddball Pastor on Thursday November 10, 2005 @ 12:56 PM
|This debate about price reminds me that for a great number of years (the Medieval Period, roughly) , before the emergence of identifiable market based thinking, the issue of how much things cost was very much a theological one, the idea being to establish a “just price” for goods and services. Like many old ideas, this is a good one, and although it has a long,complex, and rich history, it has been nearly lost. Publishing , especially religous based publishing, is one arena where this old concept could be revived, explored, and adapted to contemporary reality.|
by Michael R on Wednesday January 11, 2006 @ 4:07 PM