There are a number of congregations out there who insist that the needs of the building where they meet are more important than the needs of their spiritual leaders. Many promise to contribute to the spiritual leader’s necessities after buildings are repaired or improved. Providing for spiritual leaders’ needs is biblically mandated, as you can plainly see. If you have been thinking wrong, stop and do what God wants you to do. God forgives those who have made the mistake of doing what seems right to them as opposed to doing His will.
Some misunderstand the following verse and use it as an excuse not to pay their spiritual leaders:
8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.
What this verse means is that Jesus doesn’t want us to expect payment for providing the spiritual services mentioned in this scripture. That said, there’s nothing wrong with asking for donations where appropriate. This verse in no way absolves believers from their responsibility for providing for spiritual leaders’ needs and giving them double honor.
A few weeks ago, a colleague in Africa shared that a community wanted him to participate in a three day event. They would provide food and housing but not expenses like travel or time off from work. My colleague is dedicated to being and doing what God has for him to be and do, so our prayer was that if it were His will, for God to make a way for him to go. It’s wonderful that these believers saw how powerfully God works through my colleague. He has delivered those afflicted with demons and healed those who are sick. They need to value him enough to ensure that his needs, all his needs, surrounding the event have been met. What if he loses his job? How will he provide for his family?
Just what needs to be the standard for the spiritual leader’s provision? God values spiritual leaders so highly that He wants them paid doubly. Does this mean all spiritual leaders should live in mansions, drive current late model cars or have private jet planes? Of course not. Let God the Holy Spirit guide your giving in this and every case. He knows what is needed. What these verses mean is that a spiritual leader needs to be free and available to perform his or her role without the stress or distraction of working outside the ministry. In the Old Testament, God set it up so that the Priests and Levites would be blessed with the financial support of tithes and offerings and all the responsibilities attached to that provision.
Sadly, many spiritual leaders have to be bi-vocational. Pastor G is one of them. He works in a major supermarket so that our personal needs and ministry needs can be met. Do we live lavishly? No. We live in a 55+ senior mobile home park and drive a 2002 Buick LeSabre. (That’s a 15 year old car, folks!) We follow God’s lead and support community needs as well as some of the needs of spiritual leaders globally because their congregations have refused to follow God’s mandate. It is our heartfelt prayer that posts like this will make a huge change in how brethren esteem those God has anointed and ordained to be their spiritual shepherds.
copyright 2017, Pastors George and Sharon Billington, All Rights Reserved