“The laborer is worthy of his hire,” Jesus said, but when making out the pastor’s paycheck, many Bible-believing churches do not seem to believe that Jesus really uttered those words.
We don’t know anyone who went into the ministry thinking he would get rich there; if anyone did, the joke is on him. But how can a man do a wholehearted job for the Lord and for His Church if he can’t pay his bills on time? Most ministers and their wives are willing to sacrifice materially; should not the members of the church sacrifice a bit too?
The fact is, most of them don’t. One minister spoke to us recently about his not uncommon monetary experiences. He had recently received a call from the chairman of the pulpit committee of an independent church that was bursting at the seams and, on its $15,000 annual budget, building a new sanctuary. When the discussion got around to salary, the caller offered $5,400 per year plus parsonage without utilities. “A man with three children could not live on that,” our friend observed. “He could exist, nothing more.”
“My wife and I became engaged the night of my ordination,” he continued, “and were married while I was pastoring my first church. One family there offered my bride and me an old iron bedstead they were throwing away. Believe it or not, they were offended when I refused it! When we moved to another church the salary offered was $5 per week less than what we could get by on. The salary was increased by that amount, but the chairman of the board, who was earning $20,000 a year, held that increase against us the entire time we were there. He felt we should have taken the initial offer and lived by faith, but it struck me rather forcefully that there was no evidence of that kind of faith ...1
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