The apostles make what seems to us to be a bold statement in Acts 6:4 “…but we will give ourselves continually to
experiencing and the need that arose to minister to the widows among them. They understood the mandate given to them
from Jesus to be leaders of the Church and this statement of policy helped to assure that they would properly fulfill His
The question that begs to be answered is, “How do these men support their wives and children if all they do is pray and
teach?” The answer is found in the same place these apostles looked for answers, in the Word of God. What must be
remembered is that at this time in history the saints did not have the books of what we now call the New Testament. Their
Bible consisted of Genesis through Malachi. Paul had not yet taught in I Corinthians 9:14, “…those who preach the gospel
should live from the gospel.” The apostles looked to the history of the covenant people of God to discover how things were
to operate in the Church. So where did they look? They went to the Scripture where God instituted how leadership is
supposed to operate and that is the beginnings of the tabernacle at the time of Moses. Numbers 18 is the passage they went
to for instruction.
Here they found that God had a plan for the financial well-being of His servants whom He calls to separate themselves
wholly to His service. Here is what the apostles received as instruction from God on this matter: Numbers 18:21, 24 “Behold, I
have given the children of Levi all the tithes in Israel as an inheritance in return for the work which they perform, the work of the
tabernacle of meeting. For the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer up as a heave offering to the Lord, I have given to
the Levites as an inheritance; therefore I have said to them. Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance.”
The general population of the nation of Israel shared in the inheritance of the land of Canaan that God divided among them.
But the tribe of Levi He reserved for Himself and they had no such inheritance. God Himself was their inheritance as we see
in Numbers 18:20 “Then the Lord said to Aaron: ‘You shall have no inheritance in their land, nor shall you have any portion among
them; I am your portion and your inheritance among the children of Israel.’”
Do not make the mistake of believing that this prescription for prosperity for ministers is somehow relegated to ancient
Israel and to those under the Law of Moses. The first century Church leaders understood this to be God’s way of taking care
of those He calls to lead His people, so we too must accept this as the correct manner in which modern-day Church leaders
are compensated. The things written in earlier times are there for our instruction; we do well to heed what God has said.
The tithes given to God by the people in your church actually belongs to your pastoral staff. These holy monies are their
inheritance from God and His divine provision for their financial well-being. This holy sacrifice given to God by the saints is
then given by Him to His servants who have dedicated their lives to His service. Do not make the mistake of thinking the
tithes pay for building a building or for the utilities, maintenance, and insurance for the church building. The building and the
operational costs for the facility come through freewill offerings specifically designated for such things. How do we know
this? Once again, we go the same source of information the apostles used to determine such matters – the Word of God.
Exodus 35:21 “Then everyone came whose heart was stirred, and everyone whose spirit was willing; and they brought the Lord’s
offering for the work of the tabernacle of meeting, for all its service, and for the holy garments.”
By now you can see how different from the Word of God most modern-day churches are operated. The pastor is and others
are hired and agree to a certain compensation for their professional services. Their compensation comes from the general
fund of the church. Oftentimes the tithes are co-mingled with the offerings because there is no knowledge otherwise. This is
not the way God planned for His servants to be compensated. All of the tithes belong to the servants of the Lord; designated
freewill offerings go to operate the church and to help the poor, widows, and other benevolent needs.
Your church may have been birthed by the Holy Spirit through the pastor. He was not hired by the church as is the case in
the preceding paragraph, but the same method must be in place for his compensation. The tithes are designated by God for
his personal use and the offerings are for all other purposes. The key phrase is “for his personal use.” It is his prerogative to
use any portion of the tithes that now belong to him for the purposes of the church just as it is for anyone in the church family
to give liberally as he chooses.
What if the pastor hears from Jesus to hire an associate pastor or a youth pastor? The responsibility for the compensation
for that person also comes from the tithes. The pastor shares the tithe with the other servant of God that Jesus has called to
minister there. The tithe is always for personal compensation for the fivefold ministers who serve Jesus as leaders in your
It is a grievous thing to God to see His servants in lack because a church family values their facility above His chosen one
who serves Him there. I have personally witnessed this many times in many churches. The church budget is established and
if there are insufficient monies to adequately pay the paid staff, they are the ones who suffer in order to preserve the
building and its contents. This is wrong. It is better to please God and handle the financial affairs of the church according to
Scripture even if it means worshipping in a smaller facility or having no building at all. Church, let us not grieve the Holy Spirit
in this regard.
Indeed, the wise writer says it truthfully: Proverbs 14:12 “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of
death.” Your church cannot afford to do things according to the ways of the world. God always has a right way to do things,
and this is certainly true in the matter of minister compensation. What death is there if the wrong way is chosen? It is the
death of God’s pleasure in the matter. It is the death of the financial well-being of your pastor? It is the death of the full
blessings of Jesus on His church? All of this can be avoided simply by obedience to the Word of God. Let it be done. Amen.
|Financial Prosperity For The
Servants of Jesus