The worker is worth his keep

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Reading: Matthew 10:9-10

When I first came to the West I was so blown away with the massive and intricate church structures with very small congregations—how do they maintain these buildings? Then in an inconspicuous corner would be this giant demijohn with the label “alms”. Alms??? Is the church in such a lowly position to beg for alms (or do I have a different inference for the word ‘alms’?), and it does seem not to ask for anything more given the slot in the bottle which is just big enough for your spare change. To add to my confusion, full-time ministers drive big flashy cars, and live in big houses with very big gardens (okay, after some time it finally did sink in that in this country the majority of its citizens are middle class). I have never seen such things before! But praise the Lord–this must indeed be a very blessed place where God’s workers are well provided for—despite the small congregations and the alms jars. (With the contradictions I’ve cited above, the whole thing remains a puzzle for me to this day. I could only assume that there are very generous members who skip the demijohns, or an efficient church “organisation structure” wherein church incomes—through gifts, businesses and maybe even state funding–are shared equally among its workers.)

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world…. Our congregation of street peddlers, labourers, tenants and subsistence farmers faithfully place their tithes and offerings in envelopes provided. There is much concern among the members that if they do not mobilise, the minister and his family will go hungry. Of course, in a country where 80% of the wages goes to food, everybody is in need–but better share and be half-empty, than the minister going completely hungry. I do not recall Harvest Sundays very much, as every Sunday seemed to be one–grains, fruits, vegetables, eggs, live chickens—anybody brought them in at any time for God’s workers. There were no food banks to give them to—aside from it being non-existent, the givers themselves could very well have been the beneficiaries as they were very much in need too.

Forgive me for being straightforward, but I would like to challenge us all, wherever we may be in the world:

One day Elisha went to Shunem. And a well-to-do woman was there, who urged him to stay for a meal. So whenever he came by, he stopped there to eat. She said to her husband, “I know that this man who often comes our way is a holy man of God. Let’s make a small room on the roof and put in it a bed and a table, a chair and a lamp for him. Then he can stay there whenever he comes to us.” - 2 Kings 4:8-10

One day Elisha went to Shunem. And a well-to-do woman was there, who urged him to stay for a meal. So whenever he came by, he stopped there to eat. She said to her husband, “I know that this man who often comes our way is a holy man of God. Let’s make a small room on the roof and put in it a bed and a table, a chair and a lamp for him. Then he can stay there whenever he comes to us.” – 2 Kings 4:8-10

Church, is what you give to the Lord’s work out of your excess or what you have to live on? How do we treat our servant leaders? How do we help God’s workers beyond our church fence, beyond our country, beyond our region? Quoting one of our village ministers before—for us who do not spend our time knocking on every door and introducing Jesus to every household, isn’t it only right to provide for the needs of the people who do this to free up our time? And by so doing, we also become partakers of the ministry.

Ultimately, we know that it is not the church council whom ministers are accountable to, nor the ministers whom the church members are serving. Minister or church member, we are accountable to and serving only one Master.

chiliconcarne_earthlytraveler_wordpress The Buddhists believe that the noble way to give is by giving beyond the point of comfort (i.e., when it starts to hurt). Shouldn’t it be more for us, Christians, to whom Christ gave his very life on the cross so that we could be ransomed from eternal death?

May we take the time to reflect on how we use the resources entrusted to us–time, money, talents and strength to advance the Lord’s kingdom by blessing those He anoints.

Lord, today, help me to remember those who are suffering for your Name.

“And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” – Hebrews 13:16

“The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it….” – Psalm 24:1

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9 thoughts on “The worker is worth his keep

    • Hi Yoshiko. Yes, it depends on the person. We can only give what we want, or what we decide. I can only be so grateful that God is not like me! The Father gave His one and only Son for me, and Jesus gave His life for me. I can only desire to be as loving, compassionate, merciful and generous as Him!

      Yes, I enjoyed your poetry and your blog! 😊 I will be checking it once in a while.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I am thankful for anyone who puts them self out there to tell about God. People need to hear about the Lord in all kinds of ways and there are many different levels in which God can move once a door is open. Those that preach the word, should be poor? Are you saying that preachers should make bigger sacrifices and they should give all they have because God gave it to them? Maybe they do and God just keeps giving it so they can keep giving it? One thing is certain God is in control of the out come. If only one life is saved then isn’t it worth it? Even rich greedy preacher God can work through! That’s what I love about God, he can use what one plans for wrong and make it right for His glory. Amen.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Elizabeth, thanks for dropping by.

      Rich or poor, we as Christians should all be bringing the gospel of God to the world. We are also all expected to take up our cross and follow Him, regardless of what gifts we have received from the Spirit (whether it be preaching, teaching, encouraging, giving, etc.). I hope I am not confusing you in my post, and my response to your queries comes clear (apologies if not, as I am speaking/writing in my second language)!

      Yes, you are right–God is in control of the outcome. One sows, one waters, but only God makes the plant grow. Yes, even just for one, for God it is worth it. ‘Just like how he left the 99 sheep to look for the one that was lost.

      Yes, God can work through anybody–even through Pharaoh–so that His majesty will be displayed. And He works all things together for good for us who love Him.

      The Lord bless you, sister. To Him be the glory!

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  2. Thank you, Bruce. And thank you for sharing the verses you’ve quoted. Indeed, there are many verses in the Bible calling us to reach out and help. In fact, I can’t remember any that affirms collecting and amassing just for our own pleasures–but instead, enjoying and being content with what the Lord blesses us, and sharing whatever we have.

    The Lord bless you, my friend.

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  3. There are far too many wealthy Preachers on TV and the internet, that preach a false health, wealth, and prosperity gospel !!

    Your post reminds me of 1 John3:17… But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? (NKJV)

    And this, in…James 2:16… and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? (NKJV)

    Blessings in Christ, bruce

    Liked by 1 person

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