Should a Pastor be Cared For?
“At first those who filled offices in the Church continued to depend upon their former trades and occupations for the support of themselves and their families. The sense of the mutual honour which religion and industry reflect upon each other, and of which Paul showed so memorable an example, was strong in the early days of Christianity. Polycarp, in his Epistle to the Philippians, about the middle of the second century, charges the presbyters to provide for that which is becoming in the sight of God and men; and this independent spirit long survived in the Eastern Churches. . . Who should be so well able to counsel and sympathise with their brethren as those who are themselves bearing the same burdens? And whilst the necessities of those who dispense spiritual things are to be ungrudgingly supplied, it should be the glory of the Church, as it would be one of her mightiest weapons in her warfare against the world, freely to give what she has so freely received. It is worth almost any sacrifice to preserve the Christian ministry in all its offices from ever being appraised at a money value or brought down to the level of a trade.” – Backhouse, Early Church History
During the early church era, most pastors worked a trade to provide for themselves and their families. This was the example set by the apostles and Christ, who was a carpenter by trade. During the early centuries, this office mutated into a trade that in later centuries and even today, has become a profession that earns men into the millions without having any real secular educational degrees. To wit, the early Christians understood that to elevate the office of pastor to the level of a trade would bring corruption with it. Although they fought to keep the position on a level equal with everyone, those reaping the benefits of the position, began to exact a salary for the office. Backhouse says it well, “Who should be so well able to counsel and sympathise with their brethren as those who are themselves bearing the same burdens?” When one considers the position, the power, the prestige and the money associated with today’s office of Pastor, it makes one wonder how they could possibly “sympathize” with those who struggle under the load of providing for a family when they themselves do not.