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Leviticus 7:28-9:6


Let the elders who perform the duties of their office well be considered doubly worthy of honor [and of adequate financial support], especially those who labor faithfully in preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, You shall not muzzle an ox when it is treading out the grain, and again, The laborer is worthy of his hire. [Deut. 25:4; Luke 10:7.] (1 Timothy 5:17-18 AMP)

And,

For in the Law of Moses it is written, You shall not muzzle an ox when it is treading out the corn. Is it [only] for oxen that God cares? [Deut. 25:4.] Or does He speak certainly and entirely for our sakes? [Assuredly] it is written for our sakes, because the plowman ought to plow in hope, and the thresher ought to thresh in expectation of partaking of the harvest. If we have sown [the seed of] spiritual good among you, [is it too] much if we reap from your material benefits? (1 Corinthians 9:9-11 AMP)

As I read today’s text, the thoughts that are expressed in the above verses came into my mind. God is concerned about those amongst us who are charged with Feeding His Sheep with Spiritual Food, the Word. No cheap pieces of meat were to be given for the support of the ministry and those assigned to minister. Only the best was to be offered, fine flour, the choice cuts of meat, fine linen.

Too often we give our leftovers, our rummage to those who are scraping together, working second and third jobs to provide for their families so that they can do what God has called them to do, minister the Gospel.

Jan, you speak of the compensation given to those who minister in so-called Mega-Churches. I don’t know of any church that at its roots, its beginning, started out as a Mega-Church. We speak of large churches as if we were walking by one day and, “Oops, where did that building come from with all those folks.”

I attend a church that 28 years ago began as a storefront with four members, the pastor his wife and two of their kids, membership is now 25,000 plus. It is a mega-church because the numbers showing up for worship began to exceed the number of seats available. Abuse of power or authority can happen in any church, even a house church. I live in Brooklyn, NYC, a borough that has as one of its nicknames, The Borough of Churches. I attend my church despite the cracks I see, the problem people, the things that “appear” to be abuse of power because the pastor is devoted to teaching the unadulterated Word of God. And like King David, if one is open for rebuke, God will send a Nathan to rebuke and correct, and if need be bring judgment.

Compensation is always a sticky item to discuss for ministry and paid staff because how much is too much or too little is all relative based on the person doing the evaluation point of reference and background. In the end the person will have to answer to God and those giving to a Church that is not a “Store-house” as stated in Malachi 3:10. The bottom line is this, no matter where you attend Church or have your fellowship, if you are giving to God He will reward you, if you are giving to the Pastor, the Church or a Denomination or Ministry, well, you will be looking toward them and not God for your reward.

There are great old edifices in NYC, magnificent buildings that once held thriving congregations over one-hundred years ago, that are now in disrepair because membership cannot sustain the ministry. Why? Why is it that a part of NYC known as the Borough of Churches, has a church where 25,000 plus people pass by on Sunday and Tuesdays on their way to worship? If you grow grass, the sheep will come, not grass no sheep or you have a congregation of week emaciated sheep. There are blocks in Brooklyn where every building on the block is a church, and across the street are three-four liquor stores. I dare say that people are looking for a “spirit” of some kind even if it is only “bottle spirits” but are they finding the true Holy Spirit?

If people are flocking to a church that is not of God, that is on them based on a passage in Jeremiah (14:16), because people who are being deceived are a party to their own deception. If one is looking for Truth, it will be found (Knock, Seek, Ask …). Truth cannot hang around deception or falsehood.

If leadership is demanding more then you think is appropriate, then walk, find another pastor. No one can do to you what you don’t allow. If you can’t see an accounting of how the monies are spent, run don’t walk to another sheepfold because the one you are in has a hireling for an overseer.

Grace and peace,
Ramona

The clergy DO so much in the church that they should recieve benefits to help them live a more comfortable life.

Re finding a church where there is a singular 'senior or lead pastor' is something i find woefully lacking in the New testament. In fact, i wonder if a lot of our distress in our churches these days is that we have put a weight on singular leaders that the Lord never intended but now we have become so dependent on this 'model' or 'approach' that we have made it 'the way' to church growth (another distressing term)

Amazing to me how we tend to resort to old covenant models of leadership. I have no doubt we can learn in a descriptive way about leadership from the OT. Joseph, Moses, Nehemiah, Esther, so many examples but not one of them is laid down as being 'prescriptive leadership models for new covenant folks'.

in any case, I don't want to argue about this. I think it's safer to live in an imperfect church context with a plurality of leaders as I believe we see most of in NT as opposed to an approach that identifies a church by 'its pastor'. I have yet to see one example in the NT of a church that was led by a MAN or WOMAN. oh ya, there is one i think in 3 john. His name is Diotrephes(3 John 9) and all it says is that 'he loves to be first'.

People will argue that Peter was like a lead pastor. Maybe those folks should read 1 peter 5:1-4 where peter addresses the elders "to the elders among you I appeal as a fellow elder.."
Operative phrase "as a fellow elder' not 'chief elder'. He says later 'when the Chief Shepherd' appears..." There is really only one Head of the Church and it's not your pastor or my pastor. It's the Lord Jesus Christ and the rest of us are his 'under shepherds'. Having said that, Hebrews 13:7 speaks of Obeying your leaders. Doesn't say 'leader'. Plural.
1 Thessalonians 5:12-14 says to respect
our leaders and hold 'them' in high regard because of 'their work'. Often the terminology is in the 'plural'. I don't believe the apostle Paul was the 'lead or senior pastor' of anything.

And having said all this, I do believe that 'elders who work hard at preaching and teaching are worthy of double honour' which means 'pay those those who are investing the majority of their time in a vocational way to ministry. But this doesn't mean that their 'work' is more important than anyone else's. It's all ministry if we are doing it in Jesus' name and doing it in a way where 'whether we eat or drink, do whatever you do to the glory of God.'

i don't care how the pastor lives or is blessed, my issue is covteous in the heart because then it becomes an issue sometimes in the members hearts.

Mike, in regards to the OT reading today, in my heart
if God instituted it then that is the way it should be. God never changes. He knew back then that this could be abused but He made this His rule! Personally, I'm sure that there is greed out there but I have never known a "rich" pastor personally. God bless you! You are doing such a great job and I really appreciate all your hard work!

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