Vol.XVIII No.X Pg.6
December 1981

Why Support A Preacher?

Robert F. Turner

I suspect many brethren feel they "hire" a preacher to work for them. This is disappointing. Each man must be responsible for his own work. "For every man shall bear his own burden" (Gal. 6:5). He can never pay someone to work for him.

A preacher is obligated to preach by ability and opportunity — not by paycheck. If the brethren do not support him, it does not change his duty to preach.

Brethren support a preacher to be sharers in his work and reward. Paul was obligated to preach by his call to be an apostle of the Lord (Act. 9:15 22:15; 26:16-). "...necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me if I preach not the gospel" (1 Cor. 9:16). The brethren could not change that charge. They could be partakers and sharers with Paul when they supported him (Phil. 1:7; 4:14, 15). Likewise, the brethren are "partakers of" his grace when they support a preacher. Each does what he can (Mk. 14:8). The work is mutual; the reward is mutual. " as his part is that goeth down to the battle, so shall his part be that tarrieth by the stuff: they shall part alike" (1 Sam. 30:24). Supporting brethren are a preacher's partners. Their "gift" benefits the preacher, but that is secondary. They are rewarded. "... ye sent once and again unto my necessity. Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account" (Phil. 4: 16-17). The rewards are shared.

Brethren support a preacher out of a love for souls. They know the worth of a soul — Jesus has declared it (Mt. 16:26). They know what it is to be lost and without hope — they have been there. They know what it is to be in the fellowship of God and his people — they are. Thus, in compassion for the lost, they support a man in his efforts to save the lost.

There is no problem in understanding the theory of preacher - brethren relationships. It is plain. However, the practical side of this partnership is often hard to be understood.

You support a preacher to save the lost. All are partners in the effort. He prepares sermons, documents proof, rehearses the incentives that should convert them. The pews are empty; you will not bring your friends to hear.

You support a preacher to exhort you. He is to work with you to edify the church. He points you to spiritual things, but you will not listen. When he corrects you, you ridicule.

You support him to help you save the souls of your children. Yet if he reminds you of family responsibility, you dismiss the matter as a "nutty idea." When he warns your children to "flee youthful lusts," you are angry.

You support him to teach. When you began working together, you assured yourselves he knew the Bible and was able to teach it. Yet you will not study your Bibles and attend the Bible classes.

Brethren, I really am puzzled. Why DO you support your preacher?

Joe Fitch; 6326 Peacepipe; San Antonio, TX.