DAILY WORD 11/5/20
17. Elders who lead effectively are worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching.
18. For the Scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,” and, “The worker is worthy of his wages.”
1 Timothy 5:17–18 NLT
Today’s Passage takes a brief detour from the Doctrinal Teaching that Paul has been primarily focusing on so that he can set up his next point. In doing so, he gives Timothy a view of how Christian Leaders should be treated within the Church Structure.
As with all of Paul’s teachings, he is letting Timothy know that there is not just a result involved but there is a cause that initiates it. Here, Paul tells Timothy that those that serve in that capacity of Christian Leader should be honored, however, there is always a stipulation involved.
In order to receive the Honor that Paul is referring to the Leader must be a Dedicated, Motivated, and Reliable Servant who is Rooted and Grounded in the Word of Truth. It is not just a distinction born of the office itself, it is one born of hard work and commitment.
One cannot be expected to put in all the many hours of Meticulous Study and Devotion without any Recognition. But let it be known that Recognition should never be the motivation for holding such an office even when Honor is the result.
It is about Service, Commitment, and Commission, not Acknowledgement, Approval, or Reward. If one is motivated by the Respect or the Recognition garnered from the office of Leadership then they are approaching it for the wrong reasons.
However, if an individual has come into the office for the right reasons and operates within the office effectively, then they are to be given the Respect due them. But before we get too excited about the Honor Paul is talking about, let’s look at the two quotes that he uses to describe the Work of a Christian Leader.
He first equates the Service he is referring to, to an ox grinding the grain. It was a widely accepted practice of the time that when a beast of burden was grinding grain, they should not be prohibited from eating a bit of the grain if they were hungry.
The next quotation he uses is, “The labourer is worthy of his reward.” If you are paying attention, Paul has just said that Christian Leaders are “worthy of double honor”. But in the very next sentence, he equated that very same Leadership, that he says should earn the Leader Honor, to the trudging and repetitive work of an ox and the wages of a common workman.
This is not a slip of the tongue. Paul is not using poor metaphors in his descriptions here. He understands and is trying to get us to understand that the work of a Christian Leader is often difficult, repetitive, and thankless. The hours of tears, prayer, and struggle that they put in are many times only known to them and God.
However, it is that very work that Paul says should be Honored. Not necessarily the individual themselves but the selfless toil and hard work that they offer to God and the Church. If a regular field worker should receive payment for their labor, what more should a Christian Leader receive?
Remember that I said in the beginning that Paul was setting up his next point? Well, tomorrow’s Passage goes right back to the Instruction he has been offering up to this point and is the next step in the Lesson Plan. But it needed this example before he could move on to the subsequent point.
I believe that the take away from today’s Passage should be two-fold. The first point is that Christian Leadership Requires Hard Work from Dedicated workmen. The second point is that those Leaders are Worthy of Honor for their Dedication to the Work of God. If you put in the time, you deserve the Regard but the time requires the grind.
Have a Thought-Provoking Thursday and Stay Safe out there!