Sermon – May 13, 2018
We are told that, in order to be civil in public and in private friendships, we ought to avoid speaking on politics and religion. How much more, then, should pastors who earn support from church avoid speaking about that kind support! Yet, Paul insists that such giving is not just for the benefit of the pastor (which, indeed, it is!) but it also benefits the congregation that generously supports him. Today, let us think through how you might make the harvest of your giving as fertile as possible!
1. What you support
Your giving to the church, specifically for the pastorate, is not really meant to support a pastor, but rather to support the preaching of the Word. Pastors may change, come and go, but the preaching of the Word and its importance can never vary or waver. Pastors are not to be entertainers, political bulldogs, motivators, or lecturers. They are to preach the Word.
2. Why you support
You support the preaching of the Word because it is the sowing of the Spirit for eternal life. If you, as many do, pay preachers to tell them kind things, make them comfortable in their sins and at ease in their hearts away from God, you are only sowing to your flesh, in your sin, and you will reap destruction. But, supporting the preaching of the Word, while it means that you may have your toes stepped on, your heart torn, grief thrust upon you, and worldly comforts taken away, will yield the fruit of the Spirit in your life, maturing into eternal life itself!
3. How you support
You ought to support both generously and faithfully. Generously does not mean that you make the pastor rich, for such wealth is a great place of danger. But it does mean that you attempt to provide for him and his family the very necessities of life. Further, churches should give faithfully, remembering that the Words of God will not fail. Your sowing will result in reaping soon – both in fruit in your life, and withing the larger body of believers. Give in faith, trusting that God will work through his Word!
4. Where you support
While we are called upon to love everyone, and to prove ourselves neighbors, we have a special calling to love those of the household of the faith. This means people that we know are believer, in our local congregation, and to support the ministries of those outside the church, who work in calling the lost-elect to God their Savior.
Like the parable of the sower, the Word of God is preached in our congregation every Sunday. With your support, we hope that the seed that is thrown in of better quality – that the Word is preached clearly and passionately, so that God might be rightly glorified among us.