John Knapp, in How the Church Fails Businesspeople, recounts his surprise at hearing a sermon in which a retired minister expressed how “the responsibility of everyone in the church, as in the circus, is to support the performers, chief among whom is the preacher in the pulpit.” This evidences the secular-sacred dichotomy prevalent in churches, which in turn reinforces a hierarchy of occupations.
I agree with Knapp that this hierarchy is not warranted by the biblical evidence.
But then I come across a passage like Ephesians 4:11-13: “And he [i.e., Jesus] gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ….” And it makes me feel as if my being a lawyer is not as important to God and what he is about as being a Bible study leader (i.e., a “teacher”) at my local church.
Perhaps a more proper, or more contextually sensitive, understanding of this particular passage would not lead to this feeling. I suspect, when viewed in light of the whole counsel of God that is the entire Bible, this feeling is probably unwarranted.
And yet. And yet. Sigh….