By Festus Ndukwe.
According to the Bible, it is the responsibility of a local congregation to take care of its ministers. God has “ordained that they which preach the Gospel should live of the Gospel,” 1Cor.9:14. Church members should not shirk from the responsibility of taking care of their dear pastors and ministers of the Gospel. But like Apostle Paul, ministers should not demand for this right, but “should be ready to suffer all things, lest we should hinder the Gospel of Christ, “1Cor.9:12.
That Unusual Pastor
Many years ago, I happened to be a member of a local congregation. The pastor was not receiving salary, and he was the founder of the church. He lived by faith, trusting God to meet his needs. The elders, seeing how the pastor had been labouring sacrificially for them became concerned.
One day, the elders set up a committee to decide how much the church would pay their pastor monthly. The pastor heard about it and caused the committee to be disbanded, refusing to receive any pay, choosing rather to live by faith. Meanwhile, this pastor had been spending his scarce resources for the building of the church.
When the pastor went home to be with the Lord, not more than ten thousand Naira was found in his bank account. He was a great man of God whose life of faith impacted so many. This was a man that spent his time and prayer developing young people in church. He would challenge them to work, develop skill and earn income. He would do the planning, and write business proposals for them. He knew something about everything. From teaching, writing, printing to engineering. He never read up to a Masters degree, but he was of great assistance to do a research papers for an associate professor close to him. This great pastor would gather church members to teach them the Bible, and show them from it how someone’s career can be blessed, and lead them in prayers. He never saw anything impossible. To him, there was no disease that was incurable through faith.
Empowered the People
Today, some of those people he empowered are doing very well. He never collected anything from them. He was giving, and continued to give until he gave all, and went to heaven.
This man of God had earlier planted a church in a city and handed it over to his assistant, and left to another city to plant another one with a different name altogether. He never demanded returns from that church or made the man accountable to him. Interestingly, when this pastor passed on, the pastor he handed the church over who had now grown to become a big man of God was called to take over this other church he left behind. What an unusual pastor!
There are other pastors like that but this kind of men are not many. The other day, I cringed when I read a comment by someone on a social media platform, “…pastors should also leave our pockets…”
If we have more men like the pastor above, the world will not be bold to speak against the Church as is the practice today in newspapers and social Media.
●●Ndukwe, a Lagos-based minister, can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org.