A Workman is Worthy of His Hire

As I research various topics, I run across many websites from those claiming to follow the Most High God of Scripture where they are selling books, trinkets, asking for donations, etc.

Therefore, I wanted to pose a question to the readers here to see what all of you think is right for believers in regards to selling things specifically meant for other believers and in regards to asking for donations or income.

I found several passages and verses in Scripture which deal with this in some aspect…

1 Tim 5: 17 The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. 18For the Scripture says, “YOU SHALL NOT MUZZLE THE OX WHILE HE IS THRESHING,” and “The laborer is worthy of his wages.”

I would understand the above passage to mean that the people should take it upon themselves to make sure the leadership in their congregation is taken care of.  They are worthy of wages. Does this also mean they should earn twice as much as others who labor?  Or is “double honor” something else altogether?

And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple … and said unto them … “Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.”–John 2:15-16

How do we make the Father’s house a house of merchandise?  What is the Father’s house now that the Temple has been destroyed?  Would this include making a bible for fishermen, for teens, for women, etc in order to sell more Bibles?  Or is this about where it is sold?  Or does it mean that when a believer sells this type of thing they should only charge enough for materials and not make a profit?  Or something else?

“But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers AMONG you, who privily (secretly) shall bring in DAMNABLE HERESIES (lies that damn the soul to hell), even denying the Lord that bought them (apostates in leadership positions), and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And MANY shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned (fictitious) words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not…beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children.” 2 Peter 2:1-3,14

This is a warning to watch out for false teachers, tickling the ear, telling lies, who are covetous and use us to make their money.

Matthew 10:8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.

Is this referring to the gospel?  That is what we freely received, isn’t it?  So how does that fit with the other verses?  Is this the way those who are in leadership in our local congregations should feel?  They offer it for free, but the congregation/listening audience chooses to pay him?

1 Corinthians 9:3 My defense to those who examine me is this: 4 Do we not have a right to eat and drink? 5 Do we not have a right to take along a believing wife, even as the rest of the apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas? 6 Or do only Barnabas and I not have a right to refrain from working? 7 Who at any time serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat the fruit of it? Or who tends a flock and does not use the milk of the flock?

8 I am not speaking these things according to human judgment, am I? Or does not the Law also say these things? 9 For it is written in the Law of Moses, “YOU SHALL NOT MUZZLE THE OX WHILE HE IS THRESHING.” God is not concerned about oxen, is He?10 Or is He speaking altogether for our sake? Yes, for our sake it was written, because the plowman ought to plow in hope, and the thresher to thresh in hope of sharing the crops. 11 If we sowed spiritual things in you, is it too much if we reap material things from you? 12 If others share the right over you, do we not more? Nevertheless, we did not use this right, but we endure all things so that we will cause no hindrance to the gospel of Christ. 13 Do you not know that those who perform sacred services eat the food of the temple, and those who attend regularly to the altar have their share from the altar? 14 So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel.

15 But I have used none of these things. And I am not writing these things so that it will be done so in my case; for it would be better for me to die than have any man make my boast an empty one. 16 For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel. 17 For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have a stewardship entrusted to me. 18 What then is my reward? That, when I preach the gospel, I may offer the gospel without charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.

This seems to be a case of Paul being confusing.  He says he is talking to those who examine him. I think he is trying to say that logically anyone who preaches the gospel should be taken care of just like the priests of the temple are provided for in the Torah.  But then he goes on to say that he does not take advantage of this personally because he is desiring to offer the gospel without charge.

I know that I so much appreciate men like Keith Green who did not charge people to attend his concerts and if someone couldn’t afford his tapes, they could have it for free.  I also dislike it when I order something from a ministry and then get letters or emails every month asking for money.  I have had to remove a post recently for this reason.  I got some information for free and then at the end… surprise – they want my money!  I can’t promote that in good conscience.

What are your experiences?  Thoughts?  Insights?  Feelings?


3 thoughts on “A Workman is Worthy of His Hire

  1. Paul says:

    I ended up here after a google on something. Interesting.

    I have been in full-time ministry for a season of my life and at the moment for the last couple of years I am in business after I felt I must make the shift.

    The short and the long is that God has put structures like tithes and offerings in place to finance the work of the ministry and to pay the running costs. Part of the costs involves making sure that those ministers actually has money to pay their bills, put their kids through school and do all the other regular stuff any person would expect to do. Sure you have a sow reap principle that if you sow in a ministry you will reap the blessings in one or other way, but it´s just a way God put in place so that there can be money to operate with. Also, if a professional is driving a nice car, why can´t the Pastor not drive one? What makes the doctor more worthy of a nice car than the pastor? We need to change how we see people in ministry. The church has been intimidated and being afraid people will withhold their money if they speak out directly about tithes and offerings because they are afraid that people will say:”Oh, that church just wants money.” So the Church super spiritualize it and have all these elaborate sugar coatings and teachings about how you will be blessed when you give etc. It´s not about being blessed, it´s about get money in there so that the kingdom can be advanced. Also, if the pastors and spiritual workers are looked after properly, then they will be able to do their jobs properly and not worry about finance all the time.

    Parachurch organisations that do missions for instance exists because often churches don´t function properly and don´t invest in reaching out, and then they are forced to find money in other places. It´s wrong to give your tithe to such ministries for instance, but if you feel you want to bless them and you are convinced that they are noble and worthy to be blessed with finances to advance the vision, then do it.

    Somebody one day said that the water of the Gospel is free, but the plumbing costs a lot of money. I agree with that. We can´t expect people to keep on bringing the gospel if they can´t afford to live.

    • karebiz says:

      Thank you for your thoughts, Paul.

      I am hoping some others will jump in with their thoughts regarding Paul’s words specifically and what he possibly meant by them…

  2. pastornay says:

    I agree with you Paul, as a full-time Pastor, its so difficult to focus on the assignment That God has placed in your care, when you have to be worrying about how are my bills going to be paid this month. Many times Pastors are depressed and the congregation doesn’t know it, yet that pastor is preaching, teaching, counseling and broke yet giving their all.. now I don’t believe we should put a price on the gospel(we must be careful how far we go) yet some ministries do not bless the pastor so that he or she can take care of his needs, cause the mindset they have is that pastors just live by the word.. “no we don’t” you need money to take your clothes to the cleaners, you need money for gas in the car, money answereth all things says the Bible.. Lets stop being so heavenly minded.. we are not there yet! so while we are on earth, we need earthly things… pls don’t get me wrong! im not talking about hirelings who swindle you out your money… im talking about real men and women of God who are truly working hard in the vineyard… they deserve to be taken care of… whether they minister in the church or out…PASTORING IS A JOB! and every job DESERVE A WAGE… BLESSINGS TO YOU ALL..

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