TITHING AND THE WELFARE OF MINISTERS OF THE GOSPEL AND CHURCH WORKERS
Wednesday, July 29
Chinaemerem Joshua Ibezim
You know, tithes the Old Testament were given to the Levites. So people have argued that ministers of the gospel and church workers today should be viewed as Levites, and that we should continue paying tithes because of their welfare.
First, it's not true that ministers of the gospel and church workers today are Levites. Nowhere in the New Testament supports that assertion.
Now, if it's also true that ministers and church workers are to be taken care of with tithes, the best place to have stated that would have been 1 Corinthians 9. But Paul said so much about the welfare of ministers without talking about the tithes. See below:
1 Corinthians 9.3-14 "My defense to those who examine me is this: Do we have no right to eat and drink? Do we have no right to take along a believing wife, as do also the other apostles, the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas? Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working? Who ever goes to war at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its fruit? Or who tends a flock and does not drink of the milk of the flock? Do I say these things as a mere man? Or does not the law say the same also? For it is written in the law of Moses, 'You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain.' Is it oxen God is concerned about? Or does He say it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written, that he who plows should plow in hope, and he who threshes in hope should be partaker of his hope. If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things? Do you not know that those who minister the holy things eat of the things of the temple, and those who serve at the altar partake of the offerings of the altar? Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel."
Now, it's clear that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel. How?
According to the Bible, it is the duty of members to take care of their pastors and other church workers.
1 Corinthians 9.11 says, "If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things?"
Galatians 6.6 says, "Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches."
1 Timothy 5.17-18 says, "Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine. For the Scripture says, 'You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain,' and, 'The laborer is worthy of his wages.'"
Honour there means they should be well paid. Members must ensure that they give to they give to support their pastors and everyone else who teaches them the word.
Having said the above, ministers too must understand that they can forfeit that right by working, just as Paul did. He said to the Thessalonians, "For you yourselves know how you ought to follow us, for we were not disorderly among you; nor did we eat anyone’s bread free of charge, but worked with labor and toil night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, not because we do not have authority, but to make ourselves an example of how you should follow us." (2 Thessalonians 3:7-9)