(The following is the July 18 devotional from my Next Step Devotions book. Before reading it, I suggest you read 1 Corinthians 9 and pay close attention to verses 1-14.)
Church pastors have the daunting task of leading and shepherding congregations. They have many responsibilities and not enough time to do all they and others expect. Most ministers love Christ, the church, God’s Word, church members, and their communities. They want to serve faithfully and effectively. They give their lives for decades, not for praise or money but for God’s glory. The rare few who dishonor Christ shouldn’t reflect poorly on the majority.
Ministers need finances to live on like anyone else but are frequently hesitant to make requests for themselves, fearing that others might wrongly interpret it as greed. Many are underpaid, receiving low or no raises and inadequate coverage for benefits and expenses church members in other professions expect and receive in secular jobs. Some ministers work additional jobs to provide for their families. Many don’t have enough funds to finance their retirement sufficiently. Their selfless perspective is, “we endure everything so that we will not hinder the gospel of Christ” (v. 12).
These factors make it vital for church members to take their biblical responsibility seriously to provide for spiritual leaders. Sadly, some churches think pastors should be humble and poor, with God keeping them humble and the church keeping them poor. Instead, we who benefit from our leaders' teaching and care should eagerly love them in practical, tangible ways. Paul wrote that “those who preach the gospel should earn their living by the gospel” (v. 14).
Fully loving our pastors and ministry staff demands our generosity in word, deed, and prayer. They deserve it, and church members have an excellent opportunity to provide it.
Commit to generosity toward your pastor and church staff. Advocate for them publicly and privately. Let them know in word and deed that you love them. Pray for them regularly.