1Timothy 5:17-18 reads, “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.” (KJV)
The church of Jesus the Christ is a kingdom. Jesus is the King and his ministering servants are rulers under him. The elders referred to in our text aren’t aged persons they are described as good rulers and laborers in the word and doctrine for Timothy was a young man.
Civil magistrates in Israel who executed their duties well were worthy of honor. Deacons are considered worthy of honor if the address the social concerns of the kingdom; not the educational, structural or financial matters of the church. However worthy the aforementioned offices and others may be they still aren’t considered to be due maintenance.
Ministers who labor in preaching, ruling well, not with force and cruelty, or positioning themselves as a dictator over God's heritage; but when they govern according to the laws which Christ the King and lawgiver has prescribed; when they explain and enforce those laws, and show them to the people, and see that they are put in execution and when they discharge this part of their work with diligence, prudence and are persons of integrity not moral depravity are to be counted worthy of double honor.
As oxen are used in plowing, so likewise in treading or beating out the corn; it might not be restrained by any means from eating the corn as it had an opportunity, either by a muzzle put over its mouth, or other ways. The Gentiles had several ways of restraining their cattle from eating, while they made use of them.
Aelianus relates a very particular way of hindering oxen from eating while treading the corn. He says they prevented oxen from eating the ears of corn, in a floor where they were trod out, by besmearing their nostrils with cows' dung, which was so disagreeable to the creature, that it would not taste anything though pressed with famine.
Jarchi says in respect to any sort of cattle, whatsoever work that has food in it, none of them should be restrained from eating while at work. This law was not made for the creatures only, but for men also; and especially for the sake of ministers of the word; who for their strength and labor are compared to oxen, and ought to be comfortably supported and maintained on account of their work.
The apostles were instructed not take any money or provisions with them to support themselves. Christ intimates that they were workmen or laborers in his vineyard. They were entitled to food and raiment, and all the necessaries of life. It is the will of Christ that those that preach the gospel should live by the gospel. It is also the responsibilities of the hearers of the gospel to tangibly support the gospel.
There should be evidence that the minister is worthy of maintenance. Evidence should prove that the minister is constantly reading the scriptures and diligently searching into them, and comparing them together, in order to find out the mind and will of God in them. Not given to manipulation of the parishioners, filthy lucre or riotous living.
They should be found frequently and fervently wrestling with God or prayer to him to gain an understanding of his word and endeavoring to find out the sense of difficult passages, which are hard to be understood and choosing apt and proper words to express truth to the capacities of all.
They should be found laboring in the word in private and public; in doctrine and in preaching the gospel constantly, boldly, and faithfully; holding fast to the truth against politically correct postures, every form of compromise and all opposition, and in defending it by argument, both by word, writing and action.
To such a person there should be no militating against their maintenance by the people. Support your pastor with love, encouragement, emotional support and finances for they are worthy of double honor.
Have a Purpose Driven Day.
P.S. Always remember…Worship is a lifestyle, not a momentary experience.
Rev. Craig A. Brown is known for his passion for the presence of our Lord. Having been active as an Interim Pastor, Praise & Worship Leader, Songwriter, Musician and Worship Seminar Clinician, his priority is that of his first calling to minister the word of our Lord. Rev. Brown was ordained an Elder in the Church Of God In Christ and attends Maranatha Christian Center in San Jose, CA, Pastor Dr. Tony Williams. After matriculating at San Diego State University and Shiloh Bible College, he founded Word-Song Ministries and Word-Song Foundation.
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Used by permission, BlackandChristian.com, 2006