UPDATED Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor Charles Choe who leads Tapestry Church in Los Angeles, is an updated version of his blog first posted on June 24, 2014. Charles is a graduate of University of California, Riverside (BA) and Fuller Theological Seminary (M.Div.).
Devotional Thoughts for This Morning
“It’s Not About the Oxen but the One Who Feeds You Spiritually”
1 Timothy 5:17-18
“Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching”
Introduction: Since Charles is a pastor, he probably felt somewhat self-conscious having to talk about this matter; nevertheless, he explained it very soundly. So, what is this matter? Read on.
At this juncture of Paul’s letter to Timothy, the apostle moves seamlessly from the widows to the elders again; and this time, it is clear that his burden is for how the congregation is to treat their spiritual leaders. Perhaps it was budget time, and some in the congregation were murmuring over the pastor’s compensation.
Paul seems to assume that elders are to receive remuneration for their work, especially the elders who are particularly focused on the task of instruction. And those who teach must be properly compensated for their work. Paul compares those who labor in teaching to the oxen who should not be muzzled, thereby unable to eat some of the grain that is produced when their labor is used to separate the husk from the edible part of the wheat. Likewise, teaching elders should not have to go hungry when they do the work they have been given.
Oh, what a practical God we have! And what a fair and just God we have! He longs for His practicality and His fairness to be demonstrated in the relationship between a church and its shepherds. And should those men be found faithful, they are worthy, according to Paul, of double honor. They are worthy of our respect, of our obedience to biblical principles of correction, and of our honor. Double honor. We should follow a principle of honor from a God who alone is worthy to be honored above all.
The way in which we value goods or services is seen in the amount we are willing to pay for them. We have no qualms about spending money in order to get the best medical care or receive the best food in a restaurant. Why, then, are we too often unwilling to make sure that those who teach us the life-giving Word of God are able to make a decent living? The amount of time and money we give to the servants of the church reflects our valuing of their service. What do you think?
Prayer: Lord, thank You that I can enjoy the things You have created. Teach me the difference between self-denial and denying self. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 64
Lunch Break Study
Read 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13: We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13 and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves.
Questions to Consider
- What are we commanded to do for “those who labor among” us?
- What are you commanded to do in regard to your leaders?
- Do you respect the people who are over you? Do you allow your leaders to admonish you without being easily hurt?
- To respect them.
- To esteem them highly in love and to have peace with them.
- Respecting leaders is a matter of the heart. We often get hurt when they admonish us, but we must learn to be corrected from our leaders.
Have you done anything lately to show your love and respect for your pastor or staff members of your church? If not, commit to showing generosity to them this week.