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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

I'm a day late, but I'm posting in regards to Mike's comments yesterday about eternal flames. My understanding is that an eternal flame burns before the Ark (which holds the Torah) in Jewish synagogues today to symbolize God's eternal presence, and perhaps the flame on the altar which was not to burn out. I think it is often electric, with a backup, or solar-powered these days.

First of all, thank you so much Mike for doing this blog! It is the only way I have found that keeps me faithfully in the Word.

I was wondering if anyone knew why, in Leviticus 8:15, the Priests were instructed to pour blood at the base of the altar to "make atonement for it"? Since the altar is not a human, that confused me.

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