Honor includes monetary investment.
Honor is value. Honor is not exclusively commodified. That is, honor is not for sale, but it is worthy of offering.
A kingdom leader is not for sale. He cannot be given proper monetary value. While some kingdom leaders set a price for doing a certain thing, the value of a kingdom leader cannot be ascertained in currency or commodification.
(I’m aware of the use of the word “commodification” by Karl Marx. He didn’t acquire ownership of the term or give it an ultimate meaning. if you want to know more about Marxism, ask AOC.)
However, all kingdom leaders are worthy of monetary or commodity offerings, including tithes. That is as Biblical as “God is Love.”
The honor to who honor is due phrase is not specific to monetary response but leaves out nothing of the appropriate response to honor. “Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar” is an “honor is due” statement as appropriate as “Give to God what belongs to God’s.”
In the kingdom, leaders receive. They do not take a vow of poverty so they can be cared for by a system. That would not mean they were poor as all history and experience reveal. A pledge of poverty is not Biblical, practical, or even real. People eat or die. People have a shelter or perish. People wear clothes are embarrass us all.
In the kingdom, leaders should be adequately supplied equal to what they do by function and assignment. They should not be destitute or poor. They should not be beggars in the pulpit. They should not be the least paid person in the ministry.
The verse, “Double honor to those that work with” means monetary provision due to honor of function. “Especially elders that labor in preaching and teaching” means more money or provision from what is given for that kingdom purpose. So, we know that honor means value, preaching and teaching is more valuable than other eldering functions while doing a good job of eldering is rewarded with the portion available to a firstborn inheritor.
I listened to a lunch conversation in which a staff member serving a mega-church got a lecture about working for nothing because they were in a building program. The lecture was so polite that the knife slipped into the young man’s heart smoothly.
“Work for nearly nothing even though we promised you a raise this year because you work for God. Work for nearly nothing because we are building a building, son. Get it? Buildings are worth far more than you are.”
I know all the variables in these equations. I’ve worked for nearly nothing, reared a baby in a house with rats as big as the baby. Been there. Done all that. No complaints. Not my point here or at any other time.
If a kingdom leader makes a lot of money, rejoice! He is still worthy of double honor is he does a great job of eldering. If a kingdom leader has millions, he still receives double honor for doing an excellent job eldering. He does not receive less honor because he is a good investor or great money producer.
We should not give one care in the world about millionaire preachers flying in jets if they are successful in giving and gaining money. That idea that this is a problem is nothing but baloney. If they use ministry to inappropriately gain money in offerings or use witchcraft methods, misrepresent, or cheat to get money from believers, we should mark them as frauds.
But if they are rich by wholesome means, we should rejoice.
That has nothing to do with honor. We have zero Bible evidence that God wants elders to be poor or live by another man’s lifestyle. The preachers who got rich from preaching are so few that I wonder why we even bother discussing this. Most of them that are rich got rich by doing business based on their ministry leadership influence or because they are great businessmen. Having an international ministry requires lots of money.
(I know, I need millions right now. I would live the same lifestyle I live now; however, well-supplied and happy because millions for ministry does not mean millions for me. It means millions for ministry. On the other hand, millions for me is not evil or even unlike Jesus. Jesus was rich but lived His assigned lifestyle as every other fathering apostle did.)
Back to honor and money – the Bible says that you should honor your eldering leaders, especially those that do that well, especially those that preach and teach or both. This eldering speaks of the five aspects of kingdom leadership.
They should be personally supplied. This is not a discussion of how much their ministries have for financial resources. This is about personal honor.
For example, my international assignment requires lots of money. What I do is not paid for in full by those to whom I minister. So, I must believe God for miracles every day I do what I’m assigned. That is ministry money.
When Paul speaks of double honor, he speaks of what is given to an eldering leader as personal honor, not what is available to his ministry for doing his ministry. So, Paul clarifies that good eldering in preaching and teaching would result in some elders receiving twice as much personally because of serving God honorably.
A leader’s personal net worth and his ministry’s net worth are not the same things. Paul tells Timothy that eldering leaders, chosen and authorized by Holy Spirit, who do what they are assigned well, especially preaching and teaching, are worthy of double. They will be better off than other elders without consideration of how much their own ministries are supplied to keep them doing what they do.
“Raising money” is a big deal to most international ministries. I’m not engaged in that enterprise. Yet, those that sometimes achieve more than I do, I think.
Should I do a better job of fund-raising, or should I assume that the real issue is that people are not giving as God intends? Or, should my leadership include getting people to fund the ministry and learn honor?
- There was money available for honoring elders. This money was given to God by giving it to apostles; Paul received money from churches to do his apostles work;
- There was money given by a recognized method that funded the ministry of apostles; Paul says apostles traveled with their wives and received honor as Christ’s representatives and Paul was worthy of this same honor;
- Paul decided to do something in Corinth that didn’t work very well; it is legitimate to work and leave the people without responsibility to honor financially, but it didn’t work out well for the people or Paul when it was time to grow up and be responsible.