There are many who have made religion into a business. Churches popup all over with a variety of names and doctrines in hopes to make a living by spreading their version of Christianity. In fact, religion is the largest business in the world today. The contribution of Christians builds colleges, orphanages, hospitals, recreational halls, parsonages, and places of worship. Oddly, the percentage is very small which goes to the needs of the faithful Christian, for which the contribution was initially intended.
The old testament was given for our learning. Rom 15:4 Therefore, learn from the mistakes of Israel and not to do the things they did. 1 Cor 10:6-11 Who profited from religion in the old testament? False prophets! The prophets of God often went in want because they prophesied against Israel and spoke not the things they wanted to hear. Such was the case of the 450 false prophets of Jezebel and Ahab. They were employed by the ruthless queen and king of Israel, and spoke to them what they wanted to hear. Elijah, the true prophet of God only existed by God’s direction. After confronting and challenging the false prophets, he was told by God to hide by the brook called Cherith where God commanded the ravens to feed him. 1 Kin 17:3-5 When the brook dried up, God told Elijah to go into a city called Zarephath where He had commanded a poor widow to provide for His prophet. 1 Kin 17:9 Thus, it was truly said by the prophet Micah, “Her leaders judge for a bribe, her priests teach for pay, and her prophets divine for money. Yet they lean on the Lord, and say,”Is not the Lord among us? No harm can come upon us.” Mic 3:11
When Jesus ministry began, after John had been beheaded, He and his disciples preached the kingdom of heaven. The disciples of Jesus were commanded not to take any money with them. Mt 10:9 They were to exist by the mercies of the cities they were to enter into to whom they preached. Mt 10:11 Just as God had sent Elijah the prophet to the house of the poor widow, even so Jesus sent his disciples to those who received his Word. And as God blessed the widow’s house with unending supply of food, even so God blessed those who received his disciples.
Now, stop and think for a second. Why didn’t God command Israel to provide for the prophets of God? Why didn’t God allow the prophets use the power of miracles to provide them a great wage? Why didn’t God allow the disciples to use the power of miracles to provide them a great wage that the gospel should be preached? It was because those who preached the gospel should live of the gospel. As Jesus said, “The labor is worthy of his hire.” Lk 19:7 Paul was to say similar words when he said, “Even so has the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.” 1 Cor 9:14 Despite this, Paul did not write such that he should receive support from the churches to whom he preached. No! Paul also said, “What is my wage then? That when I preach the gospel, I may present the gospel of Christ without expense, that I may not abuse my authority in the gospel.” 1 Cor 9:18 Paul and his ministry worked night and day that the church be not charged with any expense. Then he commanded that we should follow them. 2 Thess 3:7-9
It is self evident that the church denies payment to elders or deacons. It is self evident that song leaders and teachers are also denied payment. Then why does the church pay preachers almost everything they have to preach the gospel? Every church I have ever entered into has several faithful and capable men who wanted to preach and that for free, but the church denied them opportunity. Why? I will tell you why. It is because they want to dictate what is being taught by the bribes of their money. As Jezebel and Ahab learned, if you pay a man enough money, they will tell you exactly what you want to hear and not what you need to hear. Thus, churches turn over all of their duties over to a paid preacher that they be not burdened. Preachers today have become the elders, deacons, and representative of the church because they do the work of the entire church. They say what the church wants to hear that their support cease not. If a preacher preached what the Word of God demands to be preached, they will be dismissed and marked as a heretic.
The apostle Paul, who knew that a preacher was worthy of compensation, also knew that he could not preach what the churches needed to hear and still receive support from them. If the elders and deacons or those who are leading the church are living in adultery, what paid preacher would dare command to them to repent of their adulterous marriages? Not many! Brethren, your leadership comes from within the church you worship, as do your teachers and song leaders, even so, you have seasoned preachers in your midst as well. Stop stifling the gospel by silencing such a rich resource among you, in lieu of outsiders who know you not, preaching to you while robbing your coffers; For in doing this, you are depleting what little money you have, and robbing the support of the needy saints in every church.
Are not the elders required to be able to teach and guide you? Let them do their work! Do you not have capable men who are able to preach to you? Let them preach! If you have money to spend, spend it on the ones who need it to exist, the needy saints! 1 Cor 16:1-3 The church is not a business and preaching is not an occupation. The church belongs to Christ and all those who serve Him so serve because they were commanded to do so, and because they love God’s Word. What is their reward then? It is the same for every faithful Christian, and that is eternal life in heaven!