October 19, 2016


Many of us have known a co-worker or a supervisor who doesn’t appear to be worth their salary. When you’ve been in the church environment for years you can see something similar in pastors, youth ministers and paid ministry leaders. Paul said, “The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “The worker deserves his wages” (1 Tim 5:17-18 NIV). None of us want to muzzle the ox, but it is incumbent upon us to make sure that he is actually treading out grain.

1 comment:

Steve Corey said...


-----“That he is actually treading out the grain” is a great insight! There is no problem with it at all. The problem is with us. We know what “…treading out the grain…” is and “…directing the affairs of the church…” are, by golly we do! I’ve seen church leaders act like anybody who does not agree with them are grain, because they sure tread them out. I’ve seen church leaders who think the affairs of the church are the expressions precious brothers and sisters long to make to the Lord and their loved ones, because some have been shoved out of the pasture for lack of agreement, not with one another, but of course -let’s have a drum roll here- with the leaders. If their expressions don’t sound right, yah, you got it, they’re grain. I’m not going to carry on about shuffling certain church furniture and décor out and other furniture and décor in. I’m not going to bloviate about tattered blue jeans, T-shirts, suits, or ties, except that I’ve seen church leaders make it all into church affairs. And there may be more justification for discussing, Calvinism vs. Arminianism, pre-trib vs. post-trib, immersion vs. sprinkling and all the other doctrinal hog troughs filled far beyond what is written (I Cor 4:6) as being “church affairs”, except to say that maybe they’ve been so much made the affairs of the church that we no longer have a church; we have thousands of churches instead. Oh, glory to man!
-----So. What might really be the affairs of the church? The Bible reminds us almost cover to cover it is caring for the poor, the, orphans, the widows, the sick, etc. I love seeing the little red wagons sitting in the church hallways proudly holding a couple cans of beans. As important as it is to heap full those little wagons and to wisely distribut it, at least in my estimation, there are yet other affairs which are also important for directing well. For instance, not just preaching self-control, but inspiring and influencing it into the people and watching to see if it is growing in their hearts, that is, in other words, taking it seriously as something the Bible actually meant. And not only self-control, but also kindness, gentleness, peacefulness, honoring one another, respect, well, you get the picture I think: all those attitudes of the new life Paul and the others made so much about in their letters. Aren’t those the real affairs of the church? -that new life which should actually be welling up out of us like springs of living water?
-----Allow me to drive home my point about missed affairs and trodden grain. One little attitude of the new life is “…speaking the truth in love…” The human mind predominantly grows from what it hears; google “availability cascade”. Truth about all matters should flood forth from the church into the public realms. But no, how we baptize, whether we’re saved once-and-for-all, or not, or do church on Sunday or Saturday, or yadda, yadda, yadda, yadda, yadda, and our jealously protected right to hold up our own yadda for everyone else to practice convinces the public that there is no truth. Now the public lies flow into the church. Evolution anyone? Soon the jack-booted Feds will be making sure our preachers are gay and that men who think they are women can infest our beloved sisters’ bathroom privacy. It’s a shame church leaders over the centuries not only lost sight of what the real church affairs were, but lost so much self-control as to direct up a church affair here and there, too, with a piano player or a secretary or a few.
-----I would love to say we paid the hire and got no grain. But the truth isn’t like that. For all the bad trodden into the grain, the good trodden out of it yet beams forth brightly. In spite of stifling organization, the Bride of Christ is still amongst “the church” being the church clothed in white. Christ is her victory certain, and that’s the biggest of the church affairs.

Love you all,
Steve Corey