Speaking to the Soul – February 26

Provided for

Those who are taught the word of God should provide for their teachers, sharing all good things with them. Galatians 6:6

It’s not surprising that Paul spoke so clearly about the need to care for teachers in the early Church. They had a crucial role and, if they were not supported by the financial gifts of the church members, they would starve. The Galatian Christians needed to be reminded of their responsibilities. When Paul wrote to his young colleague Timothy, he referred to the need to show respect for church leaders and ensure they were well paid. He used an interesting verse from the Old Testament to support this view. “You must not muzzle an ox to keep it from eating as it treads out the grain” (Deuteronomy 25:4). Perhaps you hadn’t thought of comparing your church leader to an ox but the point was clear – the church members needed to accept the responsibility to provide for their teachers and leaders.

Churches are far more organised these days and most churches have a thoughtful and responsible way of supporting their ministers. But it is still important for church members to be alert to their responsibilities. I have known many ministers suffer significantly because of the thoughtlessness of their congregations. Church members have simply assumed that their leaders were well provided for, and have been unaware of financial and housing needs. Some have even thought that it was appropriate for their church leaders to suffer as part of their Christian calling. Such immoral thinking is deeply shocking but, happily, increasingly rare.

Whatever their work, everyone needs to be well cared for in order to be truly effective. Christian teachers and leaders are no different. In the words of the apostle Paul, we all need to accept our responsibility for ensuring that all good things are shared with them.

Are you confident that your own church leaders are well provided for?

Lord God, I thank you for my church leaders. Help me always to do what I can to ensure they receive the support and encouragement they need. Amen