Question:

I was reading some articles on your church web site, one concerning paying preachers, written by Terry Benton. I was trying to find New Testament scripture for continuing to pay a retired preacher, I guess like a retirement for years of service. I am wanting the Bible to be my guide, not my heart.

Any thoughts?


Answer:

The problem is that the modern idea of retirement is not how things were handled in biblical times. See: Does the Bible say anything about retiring? You earn your living: "For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat" (II Thessalonians 3:10). In proving that a preacher has the right to be compensated, Paul stated, "For it is written in the law of Moses, "You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain." Is it oxen God is concerned about? Or does He say it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written, that he who plows should plow in hope, and he who threshes in hope should be partaker of his hope" (I Corinthians 9:9-10). This also is about compensating for work being done. But retirement is drawing funds for work done in the past.

The only class of people that a church is told to support without compensation for work done are widows above the age of 60 who have no family to care for them and who meet several qualifications (I Timothy 5:8-16).

So while I'm sympathetic, being a preacher myself, I find no biblical justification for the idea. A man who wishes to stop preaching also stops being paid as a preacher. He either finds another line of work, or he lives off what he has set aside for retirement, or his family supports him in his old age, or he reduces his work load and perhaps the brethren will decide to recompense him for the reduced effort. Me? I hope the Lord grants me the health to serve Him until the end of my time on earth.