Business and Industry are out to make a profit. But the Church is called a “nonprofit organization”. In a way that’s too bad.
Think of the Church as a “profit” institution — for herself and others. The profit is spiritual and eternal — the best kind, a Bible notion. In Mark 8:36 Jesus asks: “What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?” Isaiah 48:17 tells us: “Thus says the Lord your Redeemer: I am the Lord your God who teaches you to profit who leads you in the way that you should go”.
Profit Through Christ
You know what these words are saying. You believe in Jesus, profiting immensely and beyond expressing, by His Gospel of the forgiveness of sins. Hundreds of Bible passages report the gains received. 1 Corinthians 3:21 says: “…all things are yours showing the profit you have through Christ”.
The Church must continue to explain clearly the advantages and blessings of the Gospel, the “benefits of Christ” — to use an Augsburg Confession term. (The losses must also be explained as warnings to the Old Adam within, as well as reminders of the Devil’s tricks and the world’s baits and lures.)
Profits and Prophets
This leads us to the other word. There is a connection.
You may think the word “prophet” is antiquated that its use has died out. But there are prophets in the world today, in your congregation. When Jesus ascended He left prophets behind to carry out His prophetic work. Every man-, woman-, and child-believer has this function. The Great Commission clarifies it. The congregations which exercises that Word receives many blessings, some appearing as “new members”. Where there are faithful prophets there are great profits.
St Paul says: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable…” (you know the rest). Profiting prophets are bound to both Testaments. The Church remains the only durable “profit organization”, claiming souls for God and heaven through the Word and Sacraments.
If a denomination and its people neglect the Word, you can expect a decline, not always in quantity, but certainly in quality. A non-prophet (non-Word) church is soon a non-profit (non-faith) church. Could it happen to your church? Has it happened elsewhere?
Three questions spring from the Book of Job: “What shall I profit if I be cleansed from my sin?” (35:3) “Who is the Almighty that we should serve Him? What profit do we have if we pray to Him?” (21:15) Unless we come often to sit at Jesus’ feet to hear His Word and take His holy Body and Blood, we might end up with another Job quote: ‘It profits a man nothing if he should delight himself in God” (34:9). God will then say of us as He said of His people in Jeremiah 2:8 11: “My people have changed their glory for that which does not profit”.
The World Needs The Prophets Profits
If you were to neglect, abuse, and despise Word and Sacraments you would soon despair. And the world around you will fall into a worse despair than it has now! That world needs you. It is “held together” by the Church. It needs you to “share the wealth”, the gain, the advantages, and profits that come streaming through the Means of Grace
Our congregations are in positions to cause communities around us to profit in all things divine and eternal. So we strive by God’s Spirit, to increase our prophet-ability. And our profit-ability.
— Pastor Warren Fanning