Pass The Offering Plate!

Who can deny the scandalous free-for-all shamelessly paraded by so-called “wealth and prosperity” preachers? From mansions to jets, greedy and dishonest pastors have fleeced the sheep beyond imagination. And they show no signs of slowing down, even after being exposed time and again for their reckless misappropriation of charitable funds. These religious charlatans prey on hurting souls with the perfection of a highly skilled predator. They mingle just enough “truth” from the Bible to validate their scheme, walking off the stage nightly with their treasure safely transferred to their fat bank accounts.

The lesser-known reality is that the average pastor struggles to make ends meet, just like many in his congregation. Historically, churches have been stingy with their ministers, leaving them to strain under the weight of increasing debt. Balancing the call of God with the carelessness of the average church is a daily burden for lots of pastors. As the popular old saying goes, “God, You keep him humble, and we will keep him poor.” 

One of the reasons that I love the Bible is that it doesn’t hesitate to hit the hard topics straight on. This Sunday, we will dive into Paul’s argument that those who proclaim the Gospel should get their living by the Gospel. He asks three simple questions as he broaches this sometimes touchy subject: Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard without eating any of its fruit? Or who tends a flock without getting some of the milk?

Then he goes even further in teaching the need for the church to properly care for God’s servants among them. He claims divine authority. In 1 Corinthians 9, he says, “Do I say these things on human authority? Does not the Law say the same? For it is written in the Law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain.” Is it for oxen that God is concerned? Does he not certainly speak for our sake? It was written for our sake, because the plowman should plow in hope and the thresher thresh in hope of sharing in the crop. If we have sown spiritual things among you, is it too much if we reap material things from you? If others share this rightful claim on you, do not we even more? The Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel.”

Clearly, the Bible teaches that compensation for our spiritual leaders is not debatable. The question that a church needs to ask is: Are they doing their best to take care of God’s servant? The church should also be the ones who expose and oppose those few covetous frauds among us. It’s a legitimate gripe from many critical observers that the church appears too often greedy for money rather than caring for the poor. But it’s also safe to say that “religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained from the world” (James 1). Caring for the poor and taking care of spiritual needs in the souls of men requires us to regularly “pass the offering plate.” 

So join us on Sunday at 9 a.m. or 11 a.m. as we dive into 1 Corinthians Chapter 9, where these issues and others are addressed. I look forward to seeing you. 

Your servant, for Jesus’ sake,

Pastor Deric