THE COLLECTIONS VERSUS THE TITHES (PART 2)
….the purpose of the collection for the saints was designated for relief to the brethren. It was to care for the “poor” saints as is evident in Romans 15:26. It is illegal for any Pastor or man of God to touch the money which is for the relief of the saints. It is quite shocking and disturbing that criticisms have been hurled at the act of putting up magnificent church buildings and great “church projects”. But the question is, who are to enjoy these structures that are put up with ergonomic considerations? When a church comes up with a scholarship programme, who are the first to enjoy? When the seats in a church auditorium are comfortable, who relishes them? When the church comes up with feeding programmes, who are the first to enjoy? These projects are from the collection of the saints according to Paul, the apostle.
However, the collection is very different from the wages of the minister. The collection is for the saints and the wages are for the ministers!
Paul discusses the matter of the wages in 1 Corinthians 9. In his discussion, he draws inspiration from the law and says that every labourer is worthy of his hire. However, in the pattern of the law, it is succinct that he was referring to the wage of the labourers in the house of God, predominantly, the tithe: “And ye shall eat it in every place, ye and your households: FOR IT IS YOUR REWARD FOR YOUR SERVICE IN THE TABERNACLE of the congregation.” (Numbers 18:31). In the New Testament, there is also a reward for the minister of the church and this is spoken of his 1 Corinthians 9.
It is erroneously purported in certain circles that Paul supported himself financially with his temporal job of tent making, and thus, did not take wages from any church. (Acts 18:3). This on every scriptural count is false. Yes, Paul was a tent maker and had gains from this job but that was not his primary means of support. Indubitably, Paul was constantly mattering himself with the work of the ministry; he certainly would not have had much time to carry out this architectural job consistently.
He asserts, in 2 Corinthians 11:7-9 that the brethren from Macedonia supplied that which he lacked, and this, he counted as robbery because he was ministering to the Corinthians and taking wages from another church; “Have I committed an offence in abasing myself that ye might be exalted, because I have preached to you the gospel of God freely? I ROBBED OTHER CHURCHES, TAKING WAGES OF THEM, to do you service. And when I was present with you, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man: FOR THAT WHICH WAS LACKING TO ME THE BRETHREN WHICH CAME FROM MACEDONIA SUPPLIED: and in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep myself.”
Also read Philippians 4:15-16.
Now, this is what must be appreciated: the principle of wages is already set forth in the Old Testament. “Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? EVEN SO hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.” 1 Corinthians 9:13-14.
Dearly beloved, the pattern is the same! Just as the labourers in the temple lived of the things of the temple, (remember Malachi 3:10; the principle of meat in God’s house is the tithe and offerings) the ministers in the New Testament, live of the gospel they preach! Need more be said?
Beloved, the tithe must not be coerced out of any man; it must be given upon a revelation of the word of God. There is a blessing that comes with various kinds of giving in the scriptures: there is one sure blessing that comes with the tithe; financial insurance. In my next post, I will discuss the blessedness of giving to the poor as a means that opens financial accounts for you in heaven. Shalom!