Thursday, July 17, 2003

Edifier du Jour-1 Corinthians 9:3-12
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.
There are a lot of churches that have "working" pastors; when I went there, Sunrise Baptist in Midland had a "bivocational" pastor who had a day job at Dow Chemical and preached on Sunday. For a young church, as Sunrise was, it was good on the finances, as the lack of a pastoral salary and cheap rent on the downtownish church that Midland E-Free outgrew meant that they were saving for their own digs at a very nice rate. However, not every pastor happens to be a chemical engineer who can swing that. That's one of the reasons pastors spend more time then they'd like plugging for money. Even in evangelical denominations where you'd expect a respect for God to be high, giving hovers in the 3% realm, IIRC. If you had a church of 100 people with, say, 35 households. If everyone gave 10%, you could support two pastors at the average congregational salary and still have a salary-and-a-half to pay for church maintenance, missions and other day-to-day stuff. At 3%, you have a poor pastor at 75% of everyone else's pay and 30% of a salary to keep the church building from disintegrating into wood chips. Pastor's aren't supposed to live in the lap of luxury, but if they're doing a full-time job, they at least deserve to live as well as you do. Remember that when the offering plate scoots by next time.

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