10/25 1 Timothy 5:17

17 Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.

The first thing we should notice is that it is the job of elders who meet the qualifications listed earlier in this letter to rule the church (Hebrews 13:17). Some things may be decided by a vote of the congregation, but the doctrine and worship service of the church is under the charge of that church's elders. This is another area in which many churches have strayed. The spiritually mature men should decide the direction of the church by prayerfully seeking the leading of the Holy Spirit (Acts 13:1-3).

The elders who serve the congregation well should be highly honored. While all elders should be able to teach, some are specifically called to the role of preaching and teaching. These should especially be honored for their work and labor of love. Pastors are the lowest-paid professionals. This verse is telling us that should not be the case. I recall several churches asking me to disclose the minimum salary on which I could live.

Peter instructed pastors not to serve for the sake of their salary (1 Peter 5:2). In our day we see multimillionaire celebrity pastors. This is the other extreme. A good guideline is the Jewish practice that preceded the church. It took ten men to form a synagogue because their tithe could support the rabbi. That would mean the rabbi's income would be equal to the average income of those men. Our verse for today tells us that is a minimum. Unfortunately, many pastors are expected to live on far less. If your teaching-and-preaching pastor is ruling well, consider him worthy of double honor.

Consider: "Do unto others as you would have them do to you" may be a good guideline for the committee that salaries your pastor (Luke 6:31). Pastoring can be a lonely and discouraging job. A word of gratitude for something you have learned from your pastor can be a way to show him honor and respect. Consistent attendance is another way to do the same.