Galatiansby Khan Hui Neon
Pastors, church leaders, and teachers seem to be always ministering and giving but receiving little in return. Maybe we think them so self-sufficient that it never crosses our mind to return the favour. Paul reminds us that our responsibility to our fellow believers extends to all, including those who teach us.
Just like we have pastors serving in our churches today, elders were appointed to preach, teach, and lead the congregation in the churches of the New Testament (1 Timothy 3:2; 5:17). Paul also reminded the Ephesian elders to ″keep watch″ over their flock and protect them from false teachings (Acts 20:28-32).
In return, believers are to ″share all good things″ with their instructors (Galatians 6:6). Traditional teachers of the Jews were paid out of taxes collected from the pupils, but those ministering to the Gentiles had no such salaries.
Paul now extends the same principle from the earlier verses-supporting fellow believers-to teachers as well. It is not just a matter of being practical and generous; there are several compelling reasons why we are to support those who teach us, which Paul lists down in 1 Corinthians 9:5-14. First, God's law demands it (1 Corinthians 9:9). Paul quotes Deuteronomy 25:4, ″Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain″, to show the godly principle of sharing with those who serve us.
Second, Christ commands it: ″In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel″ (1 Corinthians 9:14).
Third, it is a matter of reciprocation. Though he and Barnabas work to support themselves, Paul boldly points out that teachers and preachers should enjoy a portion of the harvest of their labour, just like a farmer and shepherd (v. 7). ″If we have sown spiritual seed among you,″ he asks, ″is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you?″ (v. 11). This same principle is espoused in Galatians 6:6.
In 1 Timothy 5:17, Paul again notes that ″The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honour, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching″. So, start expressing your love and support for them today!
Apart from giving to the church, how can we share our good things with those who teach us?
Are we to share only with our ″instructors″? Who else in church can we share our good things with today?