Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat its grapes? Who tends a flock and does not drink the milk? Do I say this merely on human authority? 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 whoever plows and threshes should be able 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? If others have this right of support from you, shouldn’t we have it all the more? 1 CORINTHIANS 9:7-12 NIV
There is a principle here that must be learned by all who are seeking to walk in financial abundance. In fact, it is for everyone.
It is this: You must reward your spiritual leaders and mentors with material means. In short, you need to pay them.
Now it is more than likely that these spiritual leaders will not charge a fee for their service. Yes, some are salaried by the church or ministry they work for; however, 1 Timothy 5:17 instructs us that leaders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.
I don’t know if double honour means literally double their pay or if it is just highlighting a principle that they be paid above and beyond.
Let me put it in a way you will understand: It ought to be your heart that those who feed you in the Word should live in the biggest house in your town, drive the best of cars and wear the finest clothes.
Paul says that other people have the right to expect to be paid for what they do. The man who mows your lawn expects to get paid. The woman who cleans your house twice a week does it for wages. The labourer is worthy of his hire.
Of course, when you receive teaching from a man or woman of God, very often that minister lives by faith. In Christian culture, they dare not charge a fee and nor would they want to if they are genuine servants of God.
This is the paradox and the conundrum – ministry is delivered free at the point of delivery (Hebrews 10:8); however, as the above scripture and others tell us, those who receive this ministry are obliged to reward the ministers with material and financial benefits.
Failure to do so is likened to muzzling an ox while it is treading out the grain. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that muzzling an ox will only result in a lack of productivity. Letting the ox have some of the grain will keep it strong so it can trample the grain more effectively.
Ministers should be paid. God commands it! 1 Corinthians 9:14 tells us that those who preach the Gospel should receive their living from preaching the Gospel. Preachers should be recompensed for their work.
I have found myself listening to a preacher, being blessed by his or her teaching and realising I had an obligation to sow into their ministry. Be careful what you hear if you are stingy when it comes to giving to the work of the ministry! This give a whole new meaning to James 5:4… Let he who has an ear, hear…
Jesus Himself was supported by donors (Luke 8:1-3). Many women gave to His ministry. If He set this as an example, who are we to discount the practice? Yes, Paul did not avail himself of the right to be paid in relation to ministering to the Corinthian church but it is clear that this was the exception. A careful reading of the first six chapters of Acts shows us that a considerable amount of money came in to the Early Church and it can be surmised that a good portion of this money enabled the Twelve to be full-time paid ministers, able to devote themselves to preaching and praying (see Acts 6:1-4).
It is wrong that believers should have to be told to bless their leaders and mentors financially; it ought to be a burning desire in each of us to want the very best materially for those who teach us and have the rule over us.
Yes, there have been abuses by preachers who use this principle to “guilt” people into giving, or twist the prosperity message in such a way that you can only prosper if you give to them. But the principle is pure because it is of the Lord. When taught and understood correctly, it will yield blessing.
I do believe if we will honour God’s servants, He will honour us. And honour is the key word here because payment of preachers is based on a culture of honour. Where there is no honour, there is no real manifestation of Kingdom or true expression of ekklesia. Yes, there is a financial reward for giving and the fact that unscrupulous people manipulate this to raise funds for ministries doesn’t negate the glorious truth.
Real men and women of God do not make merchandise of the Gospel, nor do they sell blessings – they are not theirs to sell. And I am convinced that the Lord takes such crooked dealing with His people very seriously. Thankfully, I believe these practices will be exposed and removed from the Body of Christ as the true revelation of financial superabundance becomes more and more known.
Nevertheless, the truth of our need to be more responsible in financially supporting and blessing authentic ministries and ministers that spread the Word still remains.
If you are blessed by someone who has shared with you spiritual truth, you are obligated to bless them back with your dosh.
That really is the Gospel truth.
You can read more on this subject in my ebook: Honouring Leaders Financially