9 A brother of humble means should rejoice in his having been exalted, 10 and a rich person in his having been humbled, because he will fade away like a wild flower. 11 For the sun comes up with its scorching heat and dries up the grass. The flower in it drops off, and its beauty is gone. That is how the rich person will fade away in his pursuits. - James 1:9-11 ISV
God has people in all levels of society, from the homeless to those living in huge homes and castles. Whether we are rich or poor, from the human viewpoint, has no effect on how God sees us and whether or not, He can use us. We are all special in His eyes and worthy of His death on the cross. Not all us are capable of playing musical instruments but, in a band or an orchestra, every player must play the right notes for the music to be appreciated, Even fewer of us will be band directors or orchestra leaders. And that is a very good thing. Because we need farmers, doctors, business men and women, educators, engineers, scientists, as well as someone to fill all the other positions that are needed for our survival. God has given each of us a talent that He can use for His glory if we will allow Him to do so. While we are all very special in God’s eyes and have special talents, we are all alike in that we will all have temptations to avoid and trials to go through. For us to persevere, we will need to keep our eyes and our hearts focused on Jesus and not on the world around us. Regardless of our social position or our economic value, Jesus expects us to allow Him to use us to further His Kingdom here on earth. When we learn total dependence on Jesus, the worldly things will become of much less importance to us and we can be joyful in the fact that Jesus considered us worthy. Worthy enough that He would choose to die for us, worthy enough to allow us to be a part of His team and worthy enough to spend an eternity with Him in glory. We should never belittle His gift and His opinion of us by not using our talents to glorify Him.
“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).