Considerable individuals feel that they have been scammed when they drop an offering or hand over an envelope of money to their Pastors. Well, I wouldn’t pretend like the flashy lifestyles of some pastors didn’t cause the ill-feeling some people have towards giving to Pastors. But, it is dishonest to judge all Pastors because of the actions of selected Pastors.
What does the Bible teach us about giving to Pastor and what happens when we disregard them? I will try to answer this briefly.
Jesus gave a standard.
Jesus said to the twelve;
“Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.” – Matthew 10:11
In doing ministry, the rationale is not to “blow” or get to stardom as celebrities would want it. The objective of doing ministry isn’t to make money and live a large life. Ministry is self-denial and this sacrifice reflects on all patterns of our lives. We aren’t paying for the gospel, the gospel is free!
Unfortunately, many do not do ministry today because they truly want to sacrifice themselves to reconcile men to God, they are simply there to satisfy their selfish cravings using the clout that comes with leading a congregation. But does this mean that ministers of the gospel merit nothing from us?
A Needy Pastor is Less A Blessing
The Bible admits that your Pastor can be highly anointed but groan when neglected. You can’t get the best of your Pastor when he is consumed in needs or when he is not honoured. Yes, it’s a virtue for a Pastor to keep pushing even when he has no resources but also the tendency of “not giving you all” that he has to give is there as a result.
“Obey your spiritual leaders, and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this with joy and not with sorrow. That would certainly not be for your benefit.” – Hebrews 13:17
While the above verse isn’t talking about material giving, it says a lot about how your Pastor can become sorrowful because of neglect. A hungry Pastor will have little stimulus to work vibrantly. He will climb up that podium or minister to you in the office but a part of him isn’t there. He may be lost in the thoughts of how to go about paying his children’s school fees, how to pay the rents, how to take care of his wife and so on.
This is why Apostle Paul orients on several occurrences
“Those who are taught the word of God should provide for their teachers, sharing all good things with them.” – Galatians 6:6 NLT
“Since we have planted spiritual seed among you, aren’t we entitled to a harvest of physical food and drink?”- 1 Corinthians 9:11 NLT
“In the same way, the Lord ordered that those who preach the Good News should be supported by those who benefit from it.”- 1 Corinthians 9:14 NLT
I could go on and on to cite references where Paul distinctly urged that we remain committed to the lives of our teachers; people who labour over us. In school we pay school fees, these fees guarantee that teachers remain resolute to teaching us. While nobody will drive you out of the Church gatherings for not giving, the less we give, the more we try to frustrate our teachers.
Should Pastors Grudge?
Now, does that mean it is right for Pastors to grudge or become bitter when members do not give to them the way they expected? While it is the right of those who labour over us as believers to benefit from our physical substance, we can follow Paul’s example. He wrote
“Yet I have never used any of these rights. And I am not writing this to suggest that I want to start now. I would rather die than lose my right to boast about preaching without charge. If I were doing this on my initiative, I would deserve payment. But I have no choice, for God has given me this sacred trust. What then is my pay? It is the opportunity to preach the Good News without charging anyone. That’s why I never demand my rights when I preach the Good News.” – 1 Corinthians 9:15, 17-18 NLT
Whether we receive or not, we shouldn’t relent. Any giving that will cost us our rights of preaching the truth boldly, we must ignore it because God has given us a hallowed trust and if it means not mandating our rights just so that we don’t reach a concession, it’s okay.
There is a caveat though. Ideally, we do not just give to anyone just because he says something and calls it preaching. Paul writes
“Elders who do their work well should be respected and paid well, especially those who work hard at both preaching and teaching.” – 1 Timothy 5:17
We need to pay attention to “…who do their work well”, not those who deceive you, teach all manner of lies, live careless lives, have a terrible reputation and those who abuse the privileges that come with being a ministry leader. We are to be committed financially to the lives of those who WORK HARD at both preaching and teaching.
Pastors and teachers must also teach the truth. The prior objective of giving to our Pastors is simply so that they stay committed without distraction, it is our part of the deal. We do not give them so that we will experience a business boom next week, or get a new job in New York City… We give as part of our commitment to the lives of our teachers. We are also not funding showy lifestyles but relieving our Pastors of their economic hindrance and deficiencies.