I’ve always appreciated Galatians 6:6. It is one of my favorite verses. Paul tells the believers, “Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches.” I believe 26 thankfulthat Paul realized that the quality of instruction is dependent upon the time that a teacher puts into his work. To enable that preacher to do his best, he must have the time and energy necessary to work at the task. Jesus said in Matthew 10:10 that the “worker is worthy of his wages.” He said the same thing in Luke 10:7. Paul repeats this theme in 1 Corinthians 9:14 where he teaches about what Jesus taught also when he writes, “the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel.” Again, in 1 Timothy 5:18 referring to a paid ministry, Paul says, “For the Scripture says, ‘you shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,’ and, ‘the laborer deserves his wages.’” Furthermore, the establishment of a fully supported position of pastor-teacher is a reflection of the values of any society. Kenneth Boles says, “The teacher has spent his working hours learning and then teaching God’s word, so his need for financial assistance becomes obvious. Inherent in this consideration is more than just an act of benevolence toward the teacher; there is also the implied recognition that instruction is a valuable commodity worth purchasing.”

But notice that the verse doesn’t only include the idea of a “survival” support; it talks about a “fellowship” of support of all “good things.” The idea of fellowship includes the idea of having all things in common. Although the New Testament does not promote “communism” as some suggest based on the use of this phrase in the early chapter of Acts, it does support the idea that those who make their living by teaching and preaching the Gospel should be compensated at the level of the members of those to whom they minister – how could there be a “fellowship” otherwise? Many churches, and I could name them, expect their ministers to live on substandard salaries way below the average salary of those in the fellowship. I’m so grateful that my church is not one of them.

It is essential for a congregation to support a pastoral staff that has the privilege of devoting full time energy to the ministry. No one is a “born” preacher, teacher, pastor, or manager! It takes time to develop gifts and experience to fine-tune one’s labors. It takes a gracious, generous spirit of a congregation to provide what’s necessary for that to happen. Personally, I’ve been blessed beyond my wildest dreams with a congregation that has generously supported me for years. They’ve seen me fail and watched me fall and always helped me back up. Through all my ups and downs the generosity of our congregation has not failed. In Philippians 4, Paul praised the believers for their sacrificial support of his ministry. It was a matter of profound “thanksgiving” for Paul. It is for me as well and I’ll be thinking of that and praising God for that tomorrow – Thanksgiving Day 2014!