Paying the Preacher
Someone has written: “The pastor teaches, though he must solicit his own classes. He heals, though without pills or knife. He is sometimes a lawyer, often a social worker, something of an editor, a bit of a philosopher and entertainer, a salesman, a decorative piece for public functions, and he supposed to be a scholar. He visits the sick, marries people, buries the dead, labors to console those who sorrow and admonish those who sin, and tries to stay sweet when chided for not doing his duty. He plans programs, appoints committees when he can get them, spends considerable time in keeping people out of each other’s hair. Between times he prepares a sermon and preaches it on Sunday to those who don’t happen to have any other engagement. Then on Monday he smiles when some jovial chap roars, “What a job, one day a week!”
else has also described “The Perfect Pastor.”
The sad truth is that people often expect a pastor to be everything but what God
expects him to be. In the passage before us, Paul talks about pastors and those
in full-time ministry. Specifically, he talks about paying the preacher. I
have the privilege of being with a lot of pastors and it is my opinion that most
preachers are under-paid. It some cases it is an out-right sin how some churches
take care of their preacher.
the book “Pastors at Risk”, it was found that one of the top 4 problems in
clergy marriages was the income level (70%). It was found that 22% of pastors
seek supplemental income to make ends meet and 69% of the spouses work outside
the home to make ends meet.1
should be point out that a pastor is not in the ministry for the money but when
it comes to money and income, most pastors are well below the average.
He continues: “Realize,
too, that in tens of thousands of churches across America, the pastor’s wife
is expected not to work but to serve the church in a volunteer (or minimal wage)
capacity while playing the role of homemaker. Whether these expectations are
proper is not the point: the point is that pastors, by objective standards, are
verses 1-14 Paul not only speaks about paying the preacher, but also of paying
the preacher adequately. Now I realize that when a preacher preaches about this
subject there will always be someone who will criticize and say the preacher is
trying to get a raise.
If that is the case,
If that is the case,I have two responses. First, 1 Corinthians chapter 9 happens to follow 1 Corinthians chapter 8. Secondly, since it is God’s Word chapter 9 is to be preached, and you are to hear it, and we both are to obey it.
look at what Paul had to say about paying the preacher. First:
He Defends The Right Of
In verses 1-6 Paul defends himself as well as all pastors in this matter of
money and income. On 2 occasions, Paul in his writings, stated that a pastor was
not to be “greedy of filthy lucre” (I Tim.3:3, Titus 1:7). Peter
declared in 1 Peter 5:2, “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking
the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre,
but of a ready mind.”
The pastor is not to be motivated by money or captivated with money. His motive
must be the glorification of the Saviour and the edification of the Saints. But,
Paul also declared that even though the pastor is not to serve for money, he is
worthy of being adequately compensated for his work. Paul declared in 1 Tim.
5:17, “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour,
especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.”
The words “double honor” literally mean “two-fold.” Paul
was declaring that a pastor that rules (stand before, presides) well, and
especially those who labor (work hard, fatigued) should not be poorly
compensated but properly compensated by receiving well above the average. In
fact, he says that he should receive twice the average salary.
In the first 6 verses of 1 Corinthians he defends the rights of pastors for such
compensation. He says in verse 3, “Mine answer to them that examine me is
this.” The word “answer” was a legal term speaking of one’s
defense against a charge that had been made. Like a lawyer arguing clients
rights, Paul defends the right of a pastor being adequately paid and the right
of a pastor to expect to be adequately compensated.
He says in verse 4, “Have we not power to eat and drink?” Paul uses
the word “power” 6 times in this chapter and it means “authority,
right.” The idea of having the right to eat and drink is that he has the right
that such things are provided for him. He was speaking of the right of a pastor
to expect that he will be financially and materially taken care of in his work.
Now Paul defends this right in light of 2 things. First, there is the
First, there is the pastors:
A. Work For The Lord
Notice verse 1, "Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord?"
Paul asks 4 questions. The first is, “Am I not an apostle?” The
word “apostle” speaks of someone commissioned by the Lord and separated unto
the Lord. It is someone sent by God. It is someone who is a messenger of God.
were apparently some in the church that questioned whether or not Paul was an
apostle and he thus asks, “have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord?” One
of the requirements for being an apostle was that one was to have had a personal
experience of seeing the Lord Jesus (that rules out these so-called apostles in
our day). Paul had seen the Lord on the road of Damascus and therefore was
Paul was declaring himself to be an Apostle. He was describing his work for the Lord. One reason he should be financially provided for was because of who he was. God had separated him for a specific work for God.
Secondly, there was the pastors:
B. Work In The Lord
Paul asks in the latter part of verse 1, “are not ye my work in the
Lord?” Paul defended his rights not only because of who he was but also
for what he had done. Paul had led many of the Corinthian believers to the Lord.
They had been saved under his preaching and had been taught the Word of God
under his ministry. They were the fruit of his ministry.
Notice verse 2, "If I be not an apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you: for the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord."
was saying, “Others may say that I am not an apostle, but you are proof of it.
You are the “seal” of my ministry and apostleship.”
Notice verse 5, "Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and
believe that Paul was a widower. We know that he was a member of the Sanhedrin
before he was saved and no one was allowed on the Sanhedrin without being
married. Whether he was married or not, we don't know.
in verse 5 he states that he has the right to marry if he so chose, just as the
other apostles. The words “a sister a wife” refers to a Christian
wife, someone that is saved. He had the right to have a companion as any other.
He also adds that if he was married, he also had the right to be provided for in
such a way that his wife could be a part of his ministry. The phrase “to
lead about” literally means, “to take along.”
Notice verse 6, "Or I only and Barnabas, have not we power to forbear working?"
declares that he had as much right as others to get make his livelihood from the
ministry without having to work on the side. Paul is defending his rights to be
paid adequately and his rights to expect to be paid adequately.
Secondly, we see that:
He Describes The Reasons For
In verse 7, Paul gives some logical reasons why a pastor should be adequately
paid. He gives 3 illustrations to strengthen his defense. The first
illustration is that of a:
The first illustration is that of a:
He says, “Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges?” The picture is of a soldier that serves his country in the military. The phrase “at his own charges” means “at his own expense.” A soldier does not have to buy his own uniform, gun, and meals. His country provides for all these things. His country pays his wages and supplies him with all he needs to be a soldier.
The second illustration is that of a:
In verse 7 Paul asks, “who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof?” The picture is of a farmer or vinedresser. He asks, “What farmer does not enjoy the benefits of his harvest and fruit?” Who works a field or vineyard without getting paid for it, was what Paul was asking. He that labors in the field expects to be paid for his work.
The third illustration that he gives is that of a:
Finally Paul asks in verse 7, “or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of
the milk of the flock?” The picture is of a shepherd or herdsman. The
shepherd tends his flock and cares for his flock that the flock may in return
take care of him in a financial, material, and physical way. His work is not for
free. He is compensated for the work he gives.
The point Paul is making is obvious. As Warren Wiersbe wrote: “The
lesson was clear: The Christian worker has the right to expect benefits for his
labors. If this is true in ‘secular’ realm, it is also true in the spiritual
Thirdly, we see that:
He Declares The Requirement For
Paul continues by making it clear that what he saying is not just his opinion
about the matter but what God requires. Paying the preacher adequately is not
just a matter of love but law.
First, Paul explains that:
A. It Is Commanded By The Law
Paul gives two examples of how the law commanded that adequate pay be given to
those set apart by God for His work. In verse 9 we read, "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?" Paul quotes from Deuteronomy 25:4. He also quoted the same verse in I
Timothy 5:17-18 when speaking about paying the preacher. God had given the law
that while the oxen worked they could not be muzzled so as to be allowed to eat
as they worked. But Paul makes it clear that such a law was not just for the
benefit of oxen but also to establish a divine principle.
says in verse 9b-10a, “Doth God take care for the oxen? Or saith He it
altogether for our sakes?” Paul was asking, “Was it because oxen had a
special place in God’s heart that He established such a law, or did the law
have us in mind?” He answers his own question by saying in verse 10, “For
our sakes, no doubt, this is written.” The law of the oxen was intended to
teach that those who serve God in certain offices were to be provided for in
says in verse 10, “that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and he that
thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope.” The word “hope”
does not mean what we normally think of when we use the word hope. It speaks of something
that is expected. The point is that preachers who work for the Lord should
expect to be adequately provided for in their work.
The sons of a lawyer, a doctor, and minister were talking about how much money their fathers made. The lawyer’s son said, “My father goes into court on a case and often comes home with as much as $1500.00” The doctor’s son said, “My father performs an operation and earns as much as $2000.00.” The preacher’s son said, “That’s nothing. My father preaches for 20 minutes on Sunday morning and it takes four men to carry the money.”
Some people have the ideal that a preacher is not to have much or anything in
life. Their attitude is, “Lord,
you give him power and we will keep him poor.” But
notice what Paul said in verse 11, "If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?"
The word “carnal” refers to things pertaining to the flesh. Paul
uses it to speak of material things.
Notice verse 13, "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?"
second example Paul gives involves the priests that served in the Temple. In
Numbers 18:8-24 God described how the priests were to live off what was provided
by the children of Israel. They were allowed to keep a portion of the offerings
of meat, meal, crops, etc to provide for them physically.
they were financially provided for through the tithes of the people. We read in
Numbers 18:24, “But the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer
as an heave offering unto the Lord, I have given to the Levites to inherit:
therefore I have said unto them, Among the children of Israel they shall have no
else had been promised a section of land as an inheritance except the Levites.
The Levites had been selected to serve in holy things and the inheritance God
gave them was the tithes of the people. God
made financial arrangements for the Levites. Their financial income was to be
provided for by the people of God. Considering it was a tithe of the nation, you
can imagine that they were well provided for financially. Paul is making it
clear that paying the preacher adequately was commanded by the law.
He also reminds them that:
B. It Was Commanded By The Lord
Notice verse 14, "Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel."
Just in case someone might argue that the law no longer applies, Paul made
it clear that it was something Jesus Himself commanded. T
The word “ordained” speaks of that which has been instituted. What the Lord had ordained and instituted was that those who preach the gospel were to live by the gospel. That is, they were to be materially and financially provided for by the Churches and their ministry.
In closing let me sum up all we have seen. Being in many churches each year and
being around as many pastors as I do, I must say that it is tragic how Churches
often treat their pastors and take care of them. There are some churches and
some deacons that are going to answer to God for how they financially and
materially provide for their pastors.
Sometimes I think it is due to an ignorance of what God requires and commands.
Sometimes I think it is due to the fact that no one will stand up and speak up
and give leadership to see that the pastor is taken care of. At other times I
think it is just plain old down right sorry ness.
A pastor should be appreciated and compensated. His appreciation and
compensation should not be based on the size of the Church but based on as Paul
told Timothy, their ruling well, especially those who labor in word and
longer a pastor labors among a people the more he ought to be appreciated and
compensated. Each year of service he gives ought to be generously acknowledged
and appreciated. A pastor that remains faithful to God’s Word and labors to
bring his people to understand God’s Word ought to be rewarded materially and
attitude of churches should not be, he makes more than me, or better than the
preacher down the road, or he already makes so and so a year. A church cannot do
enough for a pastor who rules well and labors in the word and doctrine. He
deserves twice as much (Double-honor).
As Paul said, “He has the right to expect such.”