The Spiritual Leader’s Double Honor

NLT 1 Tim 5:16

16 Let me remind you again that a widow’s relatives must take care of her and not leave this to the church to do. Then the church can spend its money for the care of widows who are all alone and have nowhere else to turn.

17 Pastors who do their work well should be paid well and should be highly appreciated, especially those who work hard at both preaching and teaching. 18 For the Scriptures say, “Never tie up the mouth of an ox when it is treading out the grain—let him eat as he goes along!” And in another place, “Those who work deserve their pay!”

If this translation were accurate one might conclude that the word endorses paying preachers for their preaching. Unfortunately this could not be further from the truth. The truth is that this passage has nothing to do with money. Let’s look at Young’s Literal Translation

YLT 1 Tim 5:17 The well-leading elders of double honour let them be counted worthy, especially those labouring in word and teaching,

So what is this double honor? We find that spelled out in 1Th 5:12-13

12 And we ask you, brethren, to know those labouring among you, and leading you in the Lord, and admonishing you,

13 and to esteem them very abundantly in love, because of their work; be at peace among yourselves;

We first need to recognize who our true spiritual leaders are. It is not men who rule over us in a hierarchy of men [or worldly religion]. It is those who work hard among us. This is explained in Who Are Your Real Church Leaders?

The double reward for those who work hard among us is deep respect and love. This is their double reward.

There are numerous passages that prohibit those called of God and those who follow Paul’s example from accepting money for preaching. Before we go into those passages let’s take a look at Peter’s clear direction to all elders.

Filthy Lucre – YLT 1Pe 5:2-4

2 feed the flock of God that [is] among you, overseeing not constrainedly, but willingly, neither for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind, 3 neither as exercising lordship over the heritages, but patterns becoming of the flock, 4 and at the manifestation of the chief Shepherd, ye shall receive the unfading crown of glory.

This passage tells all elders that they should not accept money for feeding the flock. Their reward is not in this life. Their reward is an unfading crown of glory, the reward of the prophet, at the coming of the Lord – when they pass from this life!

KJV 1 Cor 9:8-19 Those called of God:

8 Do I say these things as a mere man? Or does not the law say the same also? 9 For it is written in the law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain.” Is it oxen God is concerned about? 10 Or does He say it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written, that he who plows should plow in hope, and he who threshes in hope should be partaker of his hope. 11 If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things? 12 If others are partakers of this right over you, are we not even more?

Nevertheless we have not used this right, but endure all things lest we hinder the gospel of Christ. 13 Do you not know that those who minister the holy things eat of the things of the temple, and those who serve at the altar partake of the offerings of the altar? 14 Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel.

15 But I have used none of these things, nor have I written these things that it should be done so to me; for it would be better for me to die than that anyone should make my boasting void. 16 For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel! 17 For if I do this willingly, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have been entrusted with a stewardship. 18 What is my reward then? That when I preach the gospel, I may present the gospel of Christ without charge, that I may not abuse my authority in the gospel.

Serving All Men

19 For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more;

So we are either called of God – stewards of the gospel and unable to accept money for preaching; or we are hired hands, men seeking profit from leading others to God; a wolf or a leopard. The Good Shepherd, The Wolf, Or The Leopard

Those Following Paul

NIV 2 Thess 3;7 For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you 8 nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. 9 We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to make ourselves a model for you to follow.

We are to follow Paul’s tent maker example, to build on the foundation that he established, Christ.  So whats the big deal? Paul gives us some other simple clear advice. The next passage warns us not to follow leaders who refuse to follow Paul’s example, that these leaders are really enemies of the cross!!

NLT Phil 3;17 Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives after mine, and learn from those who follow our example. 18 For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 They are headed for destruction. Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and they think only about this life here on earth.

The Church Leader’s Dilemma: Follow Paul Or Accept Pay

Dear God, Help us to honor our few true spiritual leaders, those who work hard among us. Remove the veil that hides the evil nature of the many blind, lord over, Nicholatians that rule in today’s churches. We trust that your will is being done on earth as it is in Heaven!!!

Amen
Glenn

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