Right of financial support from the believers



1. Why do many believers refuse to reward the ministers of the Gospel for their service?




This is a question which has only one answer, which is this: because they are avaricious, greedy persons, lovers of money and they think that to share their material things with those who instruct them in the Word means to throw one’s money out of the window. Unfortunately, nowadays there are many believers who love money, who make all efforts to become materially rich, who store up for themselves as many treasures as possible on earth, and they refuse to open their hand to support materially those who preach the Gospel and instruct them in the Word of God. They have forgotten the following commandment of God: “Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor” (Galatians 6:6 – NIV); they have put it behind their backs. In their hearts there is no desire to share their money with those who instruct them in the Word. In their opinion, the ministers of the Gospel have the duty to preach the Gospel, as they ought to preach it, and to teach the Word of God; while they have the right to be served diligently!! In other words, the ministers of the Gospel have only duties, while they have only rights!!! However, according to the Word of God, those who preach the Gospel and who labour in the Word and doctrine have the right to live of the Gospel; so they have the right to refrain from working in order to be full-time devoted to the preaching and teaching of the Word; while those who benefit from their ministry have the duty to support them financially. Does the apostle Paul not say to the Corinthians: “Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock? Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also? For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope. If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ. Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel” (1 Corinthians 9:7-14)? Pay attention to this, to live of the Gospel is a right that the ministers of the Gospel have in the Gospel, for Paul calls it “my authority in the gospel” (1 Corinthians 9:18 – NKJV. The NIV reads “my rights in preaching it”).

But the greedy people ride roughshod over the right in the Gospel the ministers of the Gospel have; they scoff at it. They have much money, they lack nothing, but they refuse to give a part of their money regularly to the servants of God (and if they give something, they give the crumbs murmuring and reluctantly). They think that it is better to invest their money in magnificent clothes, in jewellery, in splendid houses, in luxury cars, in televisions, in amusements, in holidays, than to use it to meet the needs of those who instruct them in the Word.

‘God will provide for your needs, my brother,’ they even dare to say to you, forgetting that God uses the believers to support His fellow workers materially, that is to say, to supply the needs of His servants. Of course, why not? God sometimes uses even the children of this age and angels to meet the needs of His servants; however most of the times God will use believers to meet the needs of His ministers.

These people say to God’s minister even these words, ‘Brother, freely you have received from God, freely give.’ Well said, I say. However, I want to remind them that after Jesus said to His apostles: “Freely you have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8 – NKJV), He said to them: “A worker is worthy of his food” (Matthew 10:10 – NKJV), and to the seventy He said that “the laborer is worthy of his wages” (Luke 10:7 - NKJV). Therefore, the fact that a servant of the Lord must give you freely the wisdom and the power he freely received from God, and he must use his gifts to serve you, does not authorize you – I say it again, doesn’t authorize you - to regard him as unworthy of your material and financial help. Therefore, a servant of God must not charge for his spiritual services on your behalf, but he has the right to receive your money offerings in order to live together with his family. But here is the point you greedy people detest and cannot stand; you don’t love to hear that the worker is worthy of his wages. You people with stubborn hearts, I ask this question to one of you, ‘If you worked a full month for somebody in his vineyard and at the end of the month, you would not be considered worthy of your food nor of your wages, what would you say? Would you like such a thing?’ I don’t think you would approve of it. Rather you would quote all those biblical passages which condemn all those masters who keep back by fraud the wages of their servants, wouldn’t you? I am sure you would be the first to say that you have the right to be paid and that your right has been trampled on! Well, you must understand that the same thing happens when you refuse to reward those who serve you (instructing you in the Word), for you do not consider them worthy of their wages, you trample their right underfoot!

God will not leave you unpunished for you are deserving of punishment. Do not deceive yourself, God at His appointed time will make you reap the bitter fruits of your avarice. Keep on, keep on pretending nothing happened; God will take your money and He will cause you to lose it as if you had your pockets perforated. In due time you will lose what you should have given to the servants of God; rather, you will lose much more, for Jesus said: “He who does not gather with Me scatters” (Luke 11:23 - NKJV).