THE WAGE OF THE MINISTER; THE TITHE
Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth. (James 5:4, KJV).
It is quite candid, we find in scripture, that it is an evil and self-opposing act to withhold the hire due anyone who has laboured. The Apostle, James, declares that these withheld wages scream in the ears of the Lord. Inarguably, every labourer is worthy of his hire. (Luke 10:7). To fraudulently detain the reward of a man’s toil is to unwittingly position yourself against the Lord of Sabaoth; the Lord of Hosts.
Biblically, God is not the least vague on this matter; He succinctly declared in Deuteronomy 24:14-15, through his servant Moses; “Thou shalt not oppress an hired servant that is poor and needy, whether he be of thy brethren, or of thy strangers that are in thy land within thy gates: At his day thou shalt give him his hire, neither shall the sun go down upon it; for he is poor, and setteth his heart upon it: lest he cry against thee unto the LORD, and it be sin unto thee.” Consistent with this definite biblical principle, labourers in the work of the Lord are also worthy of their hire! Subtly, bastions of the “anti-tithing” movement have meandered their devil inspired doctrines into the hearts of many believers; impelling them to believe men of God are not worthy of financial blessings. Nonetheless, the phrase, “the labourer is worthy of his hire” was Jesus’ affirmation of the material returns his disciples were to receive for their spiritual ministration in the lives of people.
Men of God are labourers in God’s vineyard. Every believer is a part of the vineyard or husbandry of the Lord. However, men of God are outstanding as labourers in that vineyard. Paul affirms in 1 Corinthians 3:9 that men in the five-fold ministry are labourers together with God. In this divine exertion, he asserts in 1 Corinthians 15:10 that he laboured abundantly more than all the apostles by the grace of God. So, if men of God are labourers, then where is their due hire?
Much has already been shared on the subject of the tithe. However, today, I want to show that the tithe is the wage of men of God.
To begin with, in the Old Testament, we know that the labourers in God’s house were the Levites and the priests. Numbers 18:30-31 says that the reward of the service of the tabernacle of congregation is the heave of the tithe, and it belongs to the Levites. Originally, the tithe belongs to God. However, he gave it unto the Levites to be enjoyed by them because they were labourers in God’s house. (Numbers 18:26). Hence, it is certain in the word of God that the wage of God is the wage of those who labour in his house. In the pattern of the New Testament, the labourers of God are his ministers in the Church.
Paul tells us in Colossians 3:23-24 that there is a reward of inheritance for those who serve the Lord Christ heartily. Paul draws inspiration from the Old Testament scriptures and says to the Corinthians, If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? (1 Corinthians 9:11). To the Galatians, he said, “Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.” (Galatians 6:6). In these verses, Paul shows us the right he possessed as an apostle of Jesus to take the wages for his kingdom work. Every Pastor must teach his church this godly principle of “paying” their ministers their wages. If they minister spiritual things unto you, it is theirs by right to reap of your “carnal” or material blessings. You are putting yourself in a disadvantageous position if you refuse to supply material needs to a man of God who ministered to you spiritually.
To the Levite, the ground of common sharing was the tithe. The nation gave a tenth of their produce to the Levites, who in turn, gave a tenth of that tithe to the priests. By this means, all in the nation of Israel were cared for. Food and supply in the house of God is by reason of the tithe: (Malachi 3:10). In the church, the ground of common sharing for the labourers in God’s vineyard who minister spiritual things is the tithe of God’s children! Your tithe belongs to your church because that is the place you receive spiritual nourishment. Stay in the Word and remain flourishing!