Hi There, August Ends,
It seems like fall has been here for the past couple of weeks in West Allis, Wisconsin. It has been cool, at least to me, but my wife is delighting in the weather this summer. I thought we were out-of-bounds temperature wise, but I looked at the historical range of temperatures…71 to 96 degrees. We are at the low end, so I guess we are bringing those very hot August’s to the proper average in Wisconsin. Not that I am complaining, but another 10 degrees would suit me well…but, not my wife. We tease each other about it. The last month I have been able to work with my grandson, Collin (15…going to be 16 soon), on the parsonage project. We did the cutting of the door frames and doors for the Saturday “door project”. This past week I was able to work with my younger grandsons, Logan (6), as we worked around the parsonage and doing some projects that have been put off for the Kitchen Project. Logan is usually eager to help…he even wants to help when the project is too big, too complicated, and over his head. He is willing to help all the time. Not only does he like to help but he does a good job for a little guy. We worked on the canopy for the swing set that we had ready since April, but the Kitchen Project prevented it being done. We got out the tools, screws, washers, and step ladder for the job. We worked like a well-oiled team getting the job done. He was asking questions all the time and learning as we worked together on the project. It was done in no time. It is such fun to work together these young men and watch them learn as they grow...far too quickly. I thank God to still be around to be with these guys and for their help.
1 Corinthians 9:9-12 - 9 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? 10 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. 11 If we have sown spiritual things among you, is it too much if we reap material things from you? 12 If others share this rightful claim on you, do not we even more? Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ. (ESV)
Subject: Sowing Spiritual Seed, Reaping Material Things
Yes, God is concerned about those that have secular jobs and provides the wisdom, the health, and the opportunities to work with the brain and the muscles to get the job done. God is concerned about the apostles, the pastors, and the missionaries who labor in the spiritual fields of our world. Paul divides the work into sowing (scattering spiritual seed over tilled ground) and reaping (gathering material or physical blessings from one’s labors).
If one sows spiritual things among God’s people, is it too much to harvest physical things from those very same people? The answer is, “It is not too much to expect material things from working in the spiritual area of life.” Paul now comes to the bottom line of his argument or defense of the people who are accusing him of not being a true apostle.
Paul says that he has not used (engaged) in this right of receiving payment for his work as an apostle for the Lord (v.12). The reason: It is because he was willing to suffer in order that there was nothing to be as an obstacle (hindrance) in the path of the gospel that he presented. He wanted to preach the free gospel without any strings attached among this pagan society. He did not want to be accused of being concerned only about the money and not the people.
Paul was willing to endure (put up with) anything rather than be a hindrance of the greatest news in the world. How often have you heard it said by church-goers: “All they want is our money?” It is a very delicate subject in our religious culture with so many TV evangelists and those have been accused of embezzling funds from a church or Christian organization. There have been pastors in our area that have been accused and convicted of taking funds illegally from their church. It makes it important for the honest pastors and churches to have financial integrity and a high priority to our congregation and in our community.
Yes, the pastor and missionaries of today have the right to receive their living from offerings to a church. But, the church’s responsibility is to make sure that there is meticulous steps to make sure that only a few people with godly integrity are working together to have the funds be received and spent according to the steps laid down in the by-laws of the church. One of the rules we have in our church is that the pastors do not handle the offerings or the funds of the church in any way.
God is concerned about the spiritual leaders who are paid by the church or the non-profit organization. Great pains should be taken that there be no ability for any funds to be embezzled by anyone. Simple but clear steps to maintain financial integrity should be maintained at all costs to prevent being embarrassed in our church or local community for the glory of the Lord!!!
Thankful for my paychecks,
Scripture is from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.