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“The church just wants my money.” This is a common excuse given by many people for the reason why they don’t attend church. Upon further examination it could be shown that these same people also reject Jesus as their Savior. They equate religion, church, and the preaching of Jesus with money so they reject all of them. You may even be one of these people.
Does the Bible address the topic of whether or not pastors and churches should receive compensation for their services? Yes it does. As a matter of fact, the Son of God, Jesus Christ, addressed the topic as did the greatest writer of the New Testament, the apostle Paul.
Jesus: In Luke 10:1-9, when Jesus sent His disciples out to preach in the surrounding cities, He told them not to take any money with them. Why? Because Jesus told them “the laborer is worthy of his hire” (Luke 10:7) Jesus was teaching that the people were to support His servants with their material goods. Today, a pastor has been given the same commission by Jesus to preach God’s Word; therefore, he is to be supported monetarily by his congregation. He is a laborer for Christ, worthy of his hire.
The apostle Paul: In 1 Corinthians 9:7-14, Paul teaches that the laborer is also worthy to reap the benefits of his work. He then uses this fact to show that the preacher is also a laborer in spiritual matters as pertaining to God, and so is worthy to receive wages and make a living through the preaching of the Gospel. “Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.” (1 Corinthians 9:14) Notice this is something the Lord Himself has appointed. Those who say pastors should not earn a living through the support of their congregation are in opposition to what God Himself has instituted. The reality is that it does take money to operate a church. Money is needed to pay the pastor, the bills, maintenance costs, taxes, etc. How is this done? Through the congregation’s support in giving.
The conclusion is clear: it is a Biblical principle that a congregation support their church through giving and the pastor receive a wage for his services.
Now while there are some churches and pastors who have corrupted themselves with greed and have preyed on the innocent, there still remains that faithful remnant of pastors who conduct themselves in an honest and truthful fashion. Their heart is turned toward God, they serve Him, and seek only to apply sound Biblical principles when it comes to the offerings that are given to the church. Do you know the heart of every pastor? Only God can say, “I the LORD search the heart.…” (Jeremiah 17:10) Chances are, the people who have accused churches of greed have also at some point been guilty of greed themselves and need to take heed of this warning: “Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.” (Romans 2:1)
Some churches and pastors are corrupt, some are not. The matter is irrelevant when it comes to your standing before God because it still doesn’t change the fact you are a sinner in need of a Savior. “For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.” (Ecclesiastes 7:20) It doesn’t change the fact there is a penalty to be paid for sinning against God. “For the wages of sin is death.…” (Romans 6:23) It doesn’t change the fact God will have to judge you guilty on judgment day if your sins are not forgiven. “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” (Hebrews 9:27) It doesn’t change the fact Jesus had to die for your sins to save you from God’s judgment. “...Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners…. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” (1 Timothy 1:15, Romans 5:6)
While there is no excuse for the corruption and greed in some churches (God will deal with them in a just manner in his time), you still have no excuse for rejecting Christ as your Savior. Do not resent God or Jesus Christ because some pastors and churches have strayed off the path and corrupted themselves in the area of money. God isn’t going to pardon you on the day of judgment for rejecting Christ because you felt as though churches were corrupt and just wanted your money. You may be able to find fault in a church or pastor, but you will never be able to find fault in the sinless Christ who died on the cross for you and rose from the dead. He is the One you should be looking to. To reject Christ is inexcusable as we are warned in God’s Word: “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” (John 3:36)
Today, confess your sins to God and ask His forgiveness. “He that covereth His sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” (Proverbs 28:13) Make a decision to turn from your sins, and put your trust in Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Only then will you be forgiven and granted the gift of eternal life in heaven. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 6:23, 10:13)
If you truly are searching, ask the Lord to guide you to a faithful, Bible preaching church. “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is.…” (Hebrews 10:25)
God Bless you in your search.