I honestly cannot personally give a strong theological dispute to people who say that pastors should not be paid a decent wage. I just have not studied it enough. So, this is my disclaimer: I am not in anyway saying that my husband and I should be paid more or less when I discuss this topic. I am not even referring to how much we get paid and whether it is enough or not. We are blessed by God continually and are always able to pay what is necessary. Please do not take this post as my being upset about our pay. I am not upset about our pay! The only reason I am even talking about this is because I have come across many people lately who do not feel that pastors should be paid a living wage. There are some who feel that, like Paul, every minister should be a tent maker. This post is my small attempt at giving you, my readers, what little information I have on the subject.

First of all, I believe that while Paul did not accept a regular payment for his services, he never told us that others shouldn’t. In fact he says the opposite. Russell Earl Kelley (REK) quoted Acts 20:19-35. I think the really key verses he is referring to here are verses 33-35:

“I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

I don’t believe Paul is saying what REK believes he is saying. Paul has provided for himself, but I cannot find where he ever condemned other Godly ministers for not providing completely for themselves. Here he is saying by hard work for God we will spread the gospel and be blessed. He doesn’t seem to say that if you receive payment you won’t be blessed. He says we must do what we can to help God’s cause with as little material things as possible. I am really not trying to make myself look good when I say that we don’t get paid a lot, but we make it with God’s provision and we are still able to tithe and give more than 10% to missions as well. So, through what others have given to the church, which has then been paid to us as salary, we have blessed others. We have also blessed others by living as frugally as we can and not demanding a high wage.

A second passage that I would like to highlight is Luke 10:1-16. (more…)

This post is clarifying my thoughts from my Is Tithing a New Testament Requirement? post.

Today it was pointed out to me that my post about tithing was not as clear as I thought it was. When I took a closer a look at it, I was appalled at everything that I had left out. The pieces were all there in my head, but I did a terrible job of converting them into words. In the process, I’m afraid I hurt feelings and conveyed the wrong message about tithing.

The following is part of a response to an e-mail I received some time ago concerning this post. The writer voiced some concerns, but even then I did not see everything that I left out. I can’t publish the e-mail because I don’t have permission, but I think that my side of the conversation will still help to clear up what I meant.

I totally appreciate what you have said and I agree with it, too. God has always provided our most necessary needs (regardless of our finances). And I appreciate everything the district leadership does. I’m sorry if I came over too strong about the banquet. It’s one of the VERY few things that bother me in this district. Overall, I absolutely love all our district leadership. I really appreciate your willingness to take time with me. The district superintendent is wonderful and if I ever have the chance to talk to him, I will try to remember to tell him my frustrations about the banquet. I have found him very easy to talk to, but since being frustrated about the banquet, I haven’t talked to him and I don’t feel like its such a big issue (even though it may have sounded that way) that I should take up his time by calling or talking to him about just that. As far as the pay, I think whatever the district leadership get paid is probably perfect or too little. I know its a big job. I passionately disagreed with my mom’s saying they made too little. (more…)

EDIT: (11/1/07) These were my initial thoughts on the subject of tithing in the New Testament and I have written a new post clarifying these thoughts. Please read it as well. It really does clarify my jumbled thoughts!

Last night, I had quite an interesting conversation with my mom about tithes and how much our district officials get paid. Then I read this post by Travis Seitler. He has done research on tithing. His post shook me. I’ve grown up with the focus always being, “give your ten percent.” I knew, of course, that more is better, but still the focus is on that tithe. In his post, Travis tells that what he has found is that the tithe was Old Testament law and therefore not applicable to us today. Now before anyone cries, “heresy,” he is NOT saying that you should not give. He says we should give more and sometimes less than 10%. His post is very well thought out and backed by scripture. I tend to believe that he is correct. He also wrote that the tithe was in food, not money. Therefore, we should be giving food if we are going to follow the Old Testament law; we should be creating food banks to help feed the poor.

The last important point I found that he made, was that tithe, since it was always given as food, was not created to support the priests’ pockets (ministers in our day) or church buildings and bills. If this is so, I wondered how would these be supported? Well, basically he believes that we should cut down on these expenses and focus on the poor. The remaining should be paid for by offerings. That makes some sense to me. That post has shaken me in changing the beliefs that I have held for so long, but after talking it out with my hubby, it makes sense to me never to preach on tithing the same again. It makes sense to me to never use that word again. The New Testament requires much more of us than the Old Testament. Jesus tells the rich man to sell everything and follow me.

When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Luke 18:22 NIV (more…)