Balance my friends. We need balance in the churches today. It is biblical to treat pastors and men-of-God with the proper respect their position deserves; however, it is not biblical to make them into a class of nobility as it were. I will repeat this statement once again, because qualifying statements are often ignored. It is biblical to treat pastors and men-of-God with the proper respect their position deserves; however, it is not biblical to make them into a class of nobility. I have become increasingly aware of some of these men being given ungodly preferential treatment. There is a teaching that has gone around that has some truth to it; and yet, it has somewhat perverted the intentions of Almighty God. It tends toward treating pastors/ministers as a privileged class with unquestionable authority. This teaching has brought about a type of virtual worship of these men by their parishioners and treating them like royal princes. While they are in a position of authority by the Almighty Himself, this does not entitle them to lavishness and lording over the flock.
While I am not Roman Catholic, I must say that I salute Pope Francis in this one thing: He chose to live in a Vatican guest house instead of the lavish papal apartment. Before he was pope, he apparently took a vow of poverty. Instead of being driven around by a chauffer, he would take the bus and other like things. This is quite unusual and in a good way.
Regardless of whether you are Protestant or Catholic, we call ourselves Christian; therefore, we should reflect the values of Christ our Redeemer. I have too much knowledge of ministers being wined and dined lavishly with price tags of hundreds of dollars for a single event and even approaching the $1000.00 mark and beyond, while ordinary parishioners are excluded. It has the appearance of an elite exclusive club that is supported by the tithes of the hardworking laymen. Many of these men are paid very lucrative salaries and additionally enjoy extensive and expensive perks. Churches often are treated like businesses with the pastor being the CEO. Many ministers are promoted to a larger church that pays a larger salary instead of being led by the Holy Spirit as to where they minister. Apparently one guy will not go speak at a church for less than $15,000. Another needs $2000.00 and yet another $10,000. There is something very wrong with this picture.
There is nothing wrong with a church paying their ministers well; in fact, it is the right thing to do if they are doing a good job, but too many of these men would not perform, if they were not getting paid really well. The Book of Titus 1:7 says this: “A bishop must be blameless as the steward of God; not self-willed, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre.” Did you notice the “not given to filthy lucre?” This is the King James Version wording, but this phrase means “not greedy of gain”. I want to repeat, that a church should pay their pastor well if he is doing a good job; however, things have gotten out of hand in the United States and a line has been crossed. Christ Himself did not come to be ministered to, but to give His life as a ransom to buy us back from sin. He did not have a lavish home, although there is nothing wrong with a minister having a nice house. In fact, he did not have a house of his own. He did not ride on a fine horse or in an expensive chariot. He walked around in sandals. His place of ministry was predominantly the outdoors. He did not have a massive church budget. He did not constantly pressure the multitudes to pay into His ministry, but trusted His Heavenly Father to take care of Him. Are you getting the picture here? I am not saying that we have to do it just like Christ did. I am not saying, that ministers cannot have a nice church building, a nice parsonage, a nice car, etc.; but I am saying, something is wrong. The world looks at all of this and they are not impressed.
I believe Billy Graham is one of the finest examples of how a minister should conduct himself. His ministry grew to a massive multi-million dollar endeavor; and yet, he remains humble, is a man of great integrity, does not lavish himself out of the ministry coffers, does not have a lavish home, prefers that Christ be high and lifted up rather than receive men’s accolades.
Being a pastor is about being a servant to Christ and to His church, and not looking to be the one served. I hope you are getting the picture here. Whoever has an ear to hear, let them hear. A minister’s heart should desire to see Christ’s kingdom growing and flourishing in the earth in a way that brings pleasure to our Heavenly Father. If you want to look into this a little deeper read these passages: I Peter 5:1-3, I Timothy 3:1-7, Ezekiel 34:2, Acts 20:28-29, Jeremiah 12:10, Jeremiah 23:1-2, Jeremiah 10:21, Titus 1:6-9, Zechariah 11:17