Unlike the Church Ministers today, Apostle Paul worked a day and night job in his time. Yes he accepted “payments and gifts” but he changed so that he is not going to be a burden for the saints [believers of Christ in the first century are called saints].
Igleia Ni Cristo Ministers elevated their standing within the Church community. They like to be served and entertain. They cannot travel without a helper or an automobile with a driver. High ranking Ministers need full entourage or body guards to travel, not to mention luxurious cars, hotels and lifestyles. Minister entertain the services of members anything that can be done in their houses, mostly free of service. They like to setup so-called BUKABIN activities of course with “pot-luck” because they like to eat. Do you notice the similarity between Filipino Police men and INC Ministers? Both have big tummy! What is the difference between them? Police drink beer a lot because they have not much food to eat, Church Ministers eat a lot because they have no beer to drink!
Apostle Paul Teachings About Compensation for Spiritual Work
Apostle Paul teaches about compensation for spiritual services and there is nothing wrong with that.
1 Corinthians 9:11 (NKJV) – “11 If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things?”
1 Corinthians 9:14 (NKJV) – “14 Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel.”
Galatians 6:6 (NKJV) – “6 Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches.”
Apostle Paul received material support from the church in Philippi even when he was already in Thessalonica (Phil. 4:15–18). He continued to accept the support. Eventually though Apostle Paul refused material compensation. Paul states,
1 Corinthians 9:15–18 (NKJV) – 15 But I have used none of these things, nor have I written these things that it should be done so to me; for it would be better for me to die than that anyone should make my boasting void. 16 For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel! 17 For if I do this willingly, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have been entrusted with a stewardship. 18 What is my reward then? That when I preach the gospel, I may present the gospel of Christ without charge, that I may not abuse my authority in the gospel.
Paul is taking new approach that he may present the gospel free of charge. This is likely the reason why Apostle Paul decided to work so that he could be the best example as he could be to the believers.
Proof of Apostle Paul Work
1 Thessalonica 2:9 (NKJV) – 9 For you remember, brethren, our labor and toil; for laboring night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, we preached to you the gospel of God.
2 Thessalonica 3:7–8 (NKJV) – 7 For you yourselves know how you ought to follow us, for we were not disorderly among you; 8 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,
Paul conscientiously chose to preach for free. And that meant, Paul had to work a day job. Fortunately, since Paul was trained by the ancient Rabbis who believed in teaching the Torah out of love and not for profit, Paul was skilled in a trade and that trade was tentmaking [could be the same as any leather type work today] (Acts 18:1–3). Paul’s statements demonstrate a certain pride of his work.
Apostle Paul do not want to be a burden
Notice how Apostle Paul stated in 2 Thess. 3:8 “…that we might not be a burden to any of you”. He did not want to be served because he knows individual believers are busy too with their own lives.”
Apostle Paul want to be a good example
Apostle Paul want to serve as an example of diligence. He states, “you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you.”. His audience would have recognized him as the same man who made tents in the marketplace with sweat-soaked brow. Certain things are caught rather than taught and Paul wanted his audience to catch his work ethic.
Apostle Paul also wants to give
In his farewell speech to the elders in Ephesus, Apostle Paul said “..i have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak”.
Acts 20:34–35 – You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my necessities and to those who were with me. In all these things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’.
Apostle Paul worked a day job so that he can serve as a good example of being a good Christian, worthy of being imitated, worked hard so that he is not going to be a burden to anyone while preaching the gospel. But working hard is not only for his own selfishness but to help those who are week [poor and needy]. I believe INC Ministers today are far from imitating Apostle Paul but is that a surprise?
The life of Apostle Paul demonstrate as Christians we must be helpful to the needy. God loves a cheerful giver. This is what I learned in my post INC time, the fundamental attribute of being a Christian is to be helpful. Recognize in our time today there are really very rich people who are so generous in giving. Yes they are able to give but they do not forget to help. I believe the grace of God is with them for their generosity.
The sad thing is the Church converted preaching of giving to the poor into offerings to the Church. Even in time of poverty you have to give. God commanded us to be thankful but the Church converted thankfulness into monetary thanksgiving. Instead of helping poor members, the church obliged (by way of doctrines) every member, rich and poor, to give, give and give supporting their teachings with bible verses that are written for us to learn how Gentiles helped Christian Jews in Judea suffering from great famines – not so written to teach offerings in the Church. I feel so sad for members I knew their livelihood is sourced only from the help and generosity of love ones, yet they split their support for their Church obligations only tomorrow they will cry for help again and again. How many brethren are in this situation? You help them, they help the Church. Its their faith and so little can be done but all the more it inspire me to write. For all I know the many Church Ministers live in luxurious lifestyle. How is that fair? Very very far from what Apostle Paul’s lifestyle and preaching. SO SAD.