Proverbs 12:11 He who tills [cultivates] his land will be satisfied with bread, but he who follows frivolity [vain things] is devoid of understanding [heart].
While this proverb does not directly speak to the subject of ministry I do believe the principle of the proverb has much wisdom for ministers and their ministry. Afterall, while the Scriptures may have only one meaning, they have multiple applications. The proverb uses the illustration of a farmer. A farmer who diligently cultivates his field will reap the benefits of its crop. He will not be in want. This is a man who has understanding, and acts upon it. On the other hand, the person who becomes engrossed in the things of this world will neglect the cultivation of his field and will lack its produce. This is a man who lacks understanding, and acts upon it (i.e. foolishness). The contrast is therefore between he who is diligent and wise and he who is lazy and foolish.
In like manner, the minister who works diligently in the ministry, cultivating not only his own soul with word and prayer, but the souls of the people under his charge, will be satisfied with the benefit of the fruit of his work. In other words, he will see the produce of his labors. He exhibits understanding and passion. On the other hand, the minister who becomes entangled in the things of this world will neglect the cultivation of his soul and the soul of the people under his charge, thus failing in his ministry. This minister will see little to no fruit from his work. What little fruit that may appear will be pitiful indeed. He exhibits foolishness and lack of concern.
The call to the ministry is a weighty call indeed (1 Tim. 3:1; Jm. 3:1). It is not an easy task, but a tedious and painstaking task. The ministry is a work of cultivation and harvest, and re-cultivaiton and re-harvest. Therefore, the minister must ever be diligent in his task. The promise attached to such a calling is glorious indeed (1 Tim. 4:16).
Related passages: Acts 6:4; 20:24,28; 1 Timothy 4:6-16; 2 Timothy 2:1-18