Pastors are not perfect. And because they’re up on the pedestal at church, they often become easy targets for criticism. And far too often, we neither honor nor support them the way that God commands us to.
And God does command us to do this.
The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “The worker deserves his wages.” (17-18)
Paul tells us here how we are to look upon our pastors and elders in the church. We are to consider them worthy of not just honor, but double honor. We are to respect them and support them.
How are we to support them? With our prayers, first and foremost, but also with our encouragement. And with our finances.
Sometimes people argue that tithing is not a New Testament command. I happen to agree with that. But most people who make such arguments usually stop there and say, “Therefore I have no obligation whatsoever to support my church financially.”
But Paul makes it crystal clear that is not true. He says you do have an obligation to support your pastor financially.
Put it this way. If your pastor is forced to work an outside job in order to support his family (remember that Paul said in verse 8 that a person that fails to do this is worse than an unbeliever), how much time can he put into the message on Sunday? How much time can he put into counseling those who are hurting? How much time can he put into all the pastoral duties God has given him? Not much.
And yet one of the main complaints that people in the church have is that their pastor is not fulfilling his obligations. If you’re making that complaint, let me ask you: “Are you supporting your pastor financially so that he can?”
More, are you supporting him in other ways? Are you praying for him? Are you encouraging him with your words? Are you seeking to take the burden off of him by actually participating in ministry so that he doesn’t have to do everything himself?
Or are you just simply sitting in church waiting to be ministered to?
The church is a body. Each person has a part in it. Are you playing your part?
Now don’t get me wrong. There are times when a pastor is to be criticized. Paul will go into that later. But there are fair criticisms and unfair ones.
And among the unfair ones are criticizing him for not doing all you feel he should be doing, when you’re not doing all that you’re supposed to be doing.
So before you start criticizing your pastor, look at yourself. Are you honoring and supporting your pastor? Are you doing everything you can to make his job easier? Or are you just sitting on your chair at church, taking potshots at him?
Where is your heart?