Don’t Muzzle Your Pastor: A Lesson on Monetary Ministry

Don’t Muzzle Your Pastor: A Lesson on Monetary Ministry

“For the Scripture says, ‘You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,’ and, ‘The laborer deserves his wages.'” – 1 Timothy 5:18

The Financial Struggles of Pastors Is Real 

Tuesday was the first day of Pastor Appreciation Month—a time when congregations all over the world show their support and love for those that shepherd them.

This year, the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) announced the Bless Your Pastor campaign, which seeks to raise awareness of the financial landscape of ministers.

National Director of NAE Financial Health, Brian Kluth, said that “Over 70% of pastors know pastors that have left the ministry just from the stress of it, either the personal stress or the financial stress…”

He continued, “And over one-third have said they … have considered leaving the ministry just because… [of] some of the financial challenges they face.”

The Meaning of the Text

Today’s Bible Quote is from Paul’s letter to Timothy in the context of how the young pastor was to supervise those within the local church. In verse 17, Paul instructs Timothy to “Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.”

He then proceeds to quote the Old Testament from Deuteronomy 25:4, followed by a quote from Jesus recorded in Luke 10:7. To prevent an ox from eating grain while it worked the land may seem like a smart business move, but in the end, the laborer suffers.

What good is an ox if it can’t perform the job because it lacks nourishment and energy? It’s no good at all. In fact, the harvest would yield less profit than if the ox was allowed to graze in order to work more efficiently.

Paul then quotes Jesus in order to clarify his use of the Old Testament Scriptures. “The laborer deserves his wages emphasizes Paul’s point that those who preach, teach, and take care of the local body of believers should be compensated fairly.

If a pastor is stressed out due to the lack of financial support, it’s not because he isn’t trusting in the Lord. It’s more than likely because the congregation isn’t being a proper steward of the money God has entrusted to them to provide for their leader.

How to Apply the Text

Chances are, most of you don’t have a lot of input regarding how much your pastor gets paid. And to be clear, there are pastors that don’t deserve to be paid at all because of the lack of leadership they display. However, it’s important that you pray for your pastor.

If God has blessed you with an unexpected monetary gift, consider how you can use it to bless your leaders. The NAE conducted a survey that demonstrated that 50% of pastors make less than $50,000 a year in salary and housing allowances.

Nearly 59% of pastors and their family members receive no health insurance, and 62% don’t receive any retirement funds.

If you have any influence over how your leaders are compensated, speak up and make sure they are well taken care of. In order for your local church to thrive and do great things for the Kingdom, your pastor needs to be healthy and well-equipped “for every good work.”

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