Friday, November 4, 2011

Does Your Pastor Work Hard Enough For His Wages?

Money does strange things to people. I don't understand why it has such a hold on us and twists us at times into unrecognizable shapes. It can warp people so much that we have developed little tidbits of wisdom such as, "Never do business with family" and "Never lend money to a friend". It's because when money gets involved in relationships it becomes a divisive force. I hate to admit it but in this world money is power.

It is no different in the Church. In some places pastors are hired like hirelings. Teachers and men of spiritual power are forced to dance to the tune of the congregation. We have twisted and complicated leadership to such a point that in some churches it is like walking through a minefield. The man of God is forced to submit to this treatment because the power belongs to the people who control the finances. It's sad.

These men and women are the called and anointed of God. They are our trainers, the ones God has put in place and yet their authority is reduced and put under the controller of the purse. The anointed of God need to be released into the freedom of that anointing and it is our responsibility to support them in every way possible. Some say we don't need them but the Word says otherwise:

It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:11-13)

It was Jesus who gave them to us, who appointed them, so their importance should be well established for us. We need them and it is our responsibility to support them. People get all funny about this because we are discussing money and spirituality, yet, we are discussing what the Word of God says not the opinion of a man:

The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “The worker deserves his wages.” (1 Timothy 5:17-18)

If we are in a mature place spiritually we consider such support an honour to give. These are the anointed of God, who have stepped away from all the distractions of this world to serve the Body of Christ. That is what they are, servants to enable us to learn and grow into our destiny. Servants, not slaves and worthy of our support. Paul explained it to the Corinthians:

Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its grapes? Who tends a flock and does not drink of the milk? Do I say this merely from a human point of view? Doesn’t the Law say the same thing? For it is written in the Law of Moses: “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.” Is it about oxen that God is concerned? Surely he says this for us, doesn’t he? Yes, this was written for us, because when the plowman plows and the thresher threshes, they ought to do so in the hope of sharing in the harvest. If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you? (1 Corinthians 9:7-11)

We do a terrible thing in thinking that the pastor must be a do-it-all person in order to deserve his wages. We expect him to manage the business of the church, to be the janitor, an entertainer of children, a taxi service and whatever else we need. We reduce him from his anointed task of "trainer" to a mere peasant slave, all so we feel that he is earning the support we give to him. We fail to understand that we need him to be in the Word, in prayer, in study so he is well equipped to train us. So many people have separated themselves from the written will of God over the matter of the the pastor's authority and his wages. It is sad.

The Word is clear and solid on this matter:

Don’t you know that those who work in the temple get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar? In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel. (1 Corinthians 9:13-14)

Check your heart concerning this matter. Are you withholding support from God's anointed based on some opinion you have about money? Have you been neglecting your responsibility according to the Word of God? Are you making the task of the pastor more of a burden because of this attitude? Are you trying to make your "trainer" dance to your tune for a few scraps from your table? The Body of Christ is desperate for a spiritual awakening in so many matters including our attitude toward the anointed of God.

1 comment:

Lizzie said...

Treating a pastor like a slave is one of the many things that can offend God. He is there to teach, not to entertain.