It’s been a week or so since I’ve written, I’ve been consumed with our testimony…..again I am going through 1Timothy just me and the Holy Spirit. Using no notes, commentaries, books…..lining my life up from my past as a pastor and today as a man who dwells in the resting place.
17 Elders who do their work well should be respected and paid well,[e] especially those who work hard at both preaching and teaching. 18 For the Scripture says, “You must not muzzle an ox to keep it from eating as it treads out the grain.” And in another place, “Those who work deserve their pay!”[f]
This is a great word….a great principle…..and a truth! But for me this is a very difficult one to face, so I’m just going to be honest and speak about it from my life, my perspective and my thoughts today.
I agree with Paul as he says an Elder should be respected and paid well. A pastor wears many hats, works 24/7 and the expectations are very high from everyone around them for the most part. But with that said allow me to confess my attitude while I was a pastor and what I feel about it now.
When I started out pastoring all I wanted to do was preach the Word, I was willing to do anything do this, all that was important was sharing the Word and what I knew had taken place in my life. This was my calling from the Lord – TRANSFORMATION!!! Preaching with a humble spirit.
As a Christian we should have no pride in our lives and even more so as a preacher, pastor, minister. I have to confess that I had pride and as the years went by my pride grew….and after some time I took on a “I deserve” or “you owe me” attitude. As I write this it makes me sick to stomach. I had a pastor friend who always talked about how we should live in nice homes, drive nice cars, have nice things………after all we are God’s children, God’s hand picked men and that is how he would want it. And…..I bought into it…..because of this way of thinking I lived beyond my means….trying to look the part of a successful preacher. I would pressure my board to make sure we “had” what we needed, I would get angry, hurt and prideful in my spirit over these things….speak death into the church and the leadership for not giving more and taking care of me and my family. I literally led my church in financial troubles, worries and hardships making sure I was paid etc…..I really didn’t realize it at the time, I thought I was right…….today I sit here with tears in my eyes just thinking of the crappy attitude I held, the judgment I passed on church, leaders, boards, members…..I had a “GIVE ME GIVE ME GIVE ME” attitude and didn’t even realize it. Lord have mercy on me.
At the same time there are churches that “hoard” their money – saving it for the future!! I always scratch my head at that one and always will. There is today and when the Lord blesses a church/ministry it should be given away!!! Taking care of people!! Francis Chan challenged his church a few years back….the said in their mission statement that “missions and evangelism” are the number one priority in their church….He said if this is true we should give away 50% of what comes in, give to missions and help the people around us…. instead of building a GREAT BUILDING or driving nice cars… etc… and bank accounts? How would Jesus react to a church that has millions in the bank when He returns while the people around that church are hurting, hungry, can’t pay bills, buy food etc? Shameful!!!!
And yet Paul writes these words…. what is the correct attitude? TRUST GOD – if people, churches, church boards, are “spiritual” people, living and resting in the Father’s rest…….obedient to the Holy Spirit, they will take care of the shepherds! TRUST GOD and be THANKFUL – the truth is I don’t need a big house that impresses people, I don’t need a pool, I don’t need a nice car, I don’t need the best clothes…….ALL I NEED IS JESUS and His promise is ALL MY NEEDS WILL BE MET……So as an encouragement to church people and church leaders, take care of the elders, pastors, missionaries, preachers etc…. TRUST GOD and give them what you can……….IF YOU TRUST God and the PASTOR’S TRUST God ……we all live and rest in Him……we all keep our pride in check….. well it is then that Paul’s writings here will take meaning and come to LIFE!!
19 Do not listen to an accusation against an elder unless it is confirmed by two or three witnesses.
AMEN — there are always people who are saying things about a pastor, elder etc…. blow them off and do not LISTEN to them….they are causing divisions, listening to the enemy and speaking death into that man/woman. NOW……….if there are 2 or 3 witnesses — LISTEN and take actions………. action with “spiritual” leaders in the church………investigate and find out the truth.
One of the problems with this is there are many leaders in the church that are NOT spiritual. They are “elected” into offices because they are popular, have a charismatic personality, or have been in the church forever……..not because they are spiritual people who can lead a church. I can remember asking people to serve on the church board that had NO business being on a church board, why? Because we had to have a church board!!! Had to fill “a spot” — so taking care of gossip, lies, or if an Elder has been accused and is guilty of it, people DO NOT KNOW HOW to deal with it, how to handle it in many churches.
20 Those who sin should be reprimanded in front of the whole church; this will serve as a strong warning to others.
21 I solemnly command you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus and the highest angels to obey these instructions without taking sides or showing favoritism to anyone.
IF we could get these verses down in the way and the spirit that Paul writes them it would be amazing – when is the last time you saw this in action? Exactly!!! Even the thought of this seems so out of place in this world…..but we are not of this world remember. It’s easy to write about how it should be……..but trying to live it or put it into practice that’s another story. I know there are churches out there that can do this……….and I also know that there are churches out there the DO DO THIS but in the wrong attitude, it’s done in a legalism way — not in LOVE and HUMILITY. I don’t have the answers and don’t even know if I have the guts. But I do know that the Pastor/Leader has to be CLEAN, OPEN, HONEST, FULL of INTEGRITY and NO PRIDE to ever have a ministry like this. I was not that man 😦
22 Never be in a hurry about appointing a church leader.[g] Do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.
Just wrote about this up a couple verses…..
23 Don’t drink only water. You ought to drink a little wine for the sake of your stomach because you are sick so often.
24 Remember, the sins of some people are obvious, leading them to certain judgment. But there are others whose sins will not be revealed until later. 25 In the same way, the good deeds of some people are obvious. And the good deeds done in secret will someday come to light.
In other words…..private life and ministry MUST match up to public life and ministry!!