12 Brothers, we ask you to show your appreciation for those who work among you, set an example for you in the Lord, and instruct you. 13 Hold them in the highest regard, loving them because of their work. Live in peace with each other.
– 1 Thess. 5:12-13 IVS
We are instructed to pray for and respect those that are in leadership positions and have authority over us. This is true in the natural and spiritual areas of our lives. It is God that has lifted them up or has allowed them to be lifted up to those positions. God can use these people, be they good or evil, to accomplish His plans and purposes. As long as their instructions to us do not violate man’s law or the Word of God, we should follow their directives. So, it is imperative for us to pray for and support our pastoral staffs as long as they hold to Biblical principles. Our support should not only be financial, but we should support them with our time and our presence at the activities they have planned for the church. Love them, pray for them and be there for them when they need someone. The leaders of the church are worthy of double honor.
17 The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. 18 For Scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “The worker deserves his wages.” — 1 Timothy 5:17, 18
God has raised them up and if they are no longer worthy of that position, He is their judge and He will bring them down. We should live in peace, not only with the leaders of our congregation, but also with our brothers and sisters in our church, our community and throughout the world.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
7 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? 8 Do I say this merely on human authority? Doesn’t the Law say the same thing? 9 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? 10 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. 11 If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you? 12 If others have this right of support from you, shouldn’t we have it all the more? But we did not use this right. On the contrary, we put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ.13 Don’t you know that those who serve in the temple get their food from the temple, and that those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar? 14 In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel..—1 Cor. 9:7-14 NIV
Paul continues to expand on the things that he could require the people to do for him. Isn’t it normal for the person who is being served to expect to pay for the service? We pay the soldiers who protect us, the vintner is free to partake of his grapes and the wine he makes, the shepherd keeps some of the milk for himself. Paul refers them to the Law of Moses and the expectations of the plowman and the threshers. If we are being spiritually fed, then we need to expect to pay those that spend their time in preparing the spiritual meals. But, says Paul, I will put up with any amount of lack as long as I can preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. A full time pastor deserves to be paid enough to support his family. It should be more than just enough for them to “get by”, they have wants just as we and our families do. (And, just in case you are wondering, no, I am not a pastor).