I remember the day that I sat in amazement a wonderful man of God who was an evangelist related certain instances to me of churches he had
ministered in that neglected him financially. He told of one particular church where a man approached him after the last service of a week-long revival he
had preached. He asked Rev. Bob if he had received the $500 gift he had given in the offering on the third night that was specifically earmarked for him.
At that time Bob had not received anything from the pastor for his labors during the week. The next morning when the final honorarium was delivered to
the evangelist it amounted to a little over $60.00! There were other stories he told of abuses he had encountered at the hands of unscrupulous pastors.
My heart was saddened.
Pastor, please hear the voice of God in this matter of visiting ministers: Pay The Man His Wages! The worker is worthy of his hire, the Bible tells you;
therefore, do not neglect this very important pastoral duty. It will go well for you and for your church if you are diligent in this regard; however, if you are
not, God will take account of your neglect and it will not fare well for you nor for your church.
On numerous occasions I have discussed such matters with pastors encouraging them as I am here. There are usually two categories of pastors that
seem to be negligent in properly compensating visiting ministers:
1) The pastor of the new, young church, and
2) The pastor of a small church or one that is comprised of primarily poorer people.
Let me assure every pastor in either of these two categories that it is categorically wrong to dismiss your obligation to be generous to a visiting minister
for any reason regardless of the condition of your church or the financial capacity of your people. It would be better not to invite the man of God to come
to minister in your church than to do so and fail to compensate him properly. Always to what is right.
I am reminded of a personal example that is an excellent illustration of this error. Years ago on a weekly basis I drove about 130 miles round trip to
teach the Word of God to a group of believers in a Bible Study. Over a period of perhaps two months there was only one offering that was given and that
amounted to about $70.00. I was pleased with the gesture, but it fell far short of the will of God. The problem is not that the infraction was towards me
personally, it would have been wrong no matter who it was who was ministering the Word of God. Even if I had driven down the street only a few blocks,
the offering still should have been given each meeting without fail. I do not hold ill feelings towards the host of that Bible Study because I believe that
this was done out of ignorance. But we all must be advised on proper conduct and be careful to adhere to it.
On several occasions I have ministered in a church or to some gathering only to have the pastor or host slip me money as an honorarium. The gift was
always appreciated but what it did not do was call the saints who fed at the table that evening to their God-given responsibility of paying for dinner. The
pastor or host set a bad precedence by not teaching and admonishing the saints to obey the Word of God in the matter of giving. How will they know if you
do not teach them?
Pastor, I encourage you to instruct your people on this matter. They must sense a financial responsibility to each and every guest minister who graces
the pulpit in your church. If properly taught, they will view this special offering as a wonderful opportunity to worship the Lord by caring for His servant. I
suggest this instruction takes place prior to the arrival of any visiting minister. Prepare your people that they might prepare their gifts. Be certain to
instruct them to give joyfully, for indeed God loves a cheerful giver.