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Written by R.W.Cothern   

November 15, 1955

Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine." Tim. 5:17-18.

I would like to submit a few brief remarks on these Scriptures, kindly reminding you that it is God's way to maintain the high and noble standard of efficiency in the holy service of His church even today. It is Paul's inspired instructions to Timothy and a "must" for the church to observe and obey. It is the BEST way because it is GOD'S way.

To rule well is to take the oversight of the flock with love and meekness yet with faithfulness. Authority is seasoned with grace and humility and betrays a true spirit of Jesus to rule in the same spirit of Jesus, to rule in the sense of making them WANT to do the right for Christ sake and the love they have for God and each other.

Not for filthy lucre: surely, no one could imagine a sane man entering the true ministry for money. If his business judgment is that low then he is to be pitied to start with. But he exhibits the gift and calling to lead people toward the mark of the prize of the high calling in Christ Jesus and persuades men to glorify God in their worship of Him, and in their daily lives "letting brotherly love continue under any and all circumstances.

Then if he "thus rules well" he is worthy of double honor" especially they who labor in the word and doctrine.

The minister who lays his whole life on the altar of sacrifice for God, who called him to His holy service and really labors in the word and doctrine, has little time for anything else. His studies and prayers are not just at his own convenience, but he carries on his heart and mind a burden from day to day. He LABORS; wrestles with his problems and pleads with God -- it is his greatest concern, in fact his ONLY concern! Such a man is worthy of double honor and the question arises now, are you showing him double honor?

The 18th verse says "For the Scripture saith thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn and the laborer is worthy of his hire."

This simile no doubt was drawn from an ancient scene where ripe ears of corn were piled up. The hard earth around a sort of tread mill where oxen were driven through the long hot day around and around the revolving post, shelling out the corn by treading it with their feet. Paul believed that it was only right that the ox should have his subsistence from the worthy work he was engaged in and flinched from the cruel thought of putting a muzzle on the old tired, and hungry creature laboring to accomplish the task.

Do you feel your pastor is enjoying equal honor, less honor or double honor, with respect to all the other members of your church? If you think he is a real pastor and worthy of double honor, are you just merely saying so with your lips? Does your love, and your cooperation, and the money you pay into the church to help support him PROVES what you are saying? Are you SHOWING HIM the double honor that the Bible says he is worthy of? If you are not, then you are muzzling the ox by your cold indifference. Your lack of love and faithfulness to a great cause that your poor little pastor is treading out all alone, without your full cooperation and loving assistance. You are purposing in your heart to give just barely enough to escape criticism, if any at all and not purposing to give as the Lord has prospered you. You are not showing single honor to your pastor much less double honor!

Of course, I understand the honor in our text does not just mean dollars and cents only, but it does include dollars and it takes dollars to buy bread and beans. Tears, pats on the back, and nice sentiments won't get the job done; it is required that you too, must make some sacrifice.

The average head-of-the-house church member on salary today draws a minimum of from two hundred to three hundred dollars per month and if they are thankful to God for it they should want to give at least twenty to thirty dollars per month to their church and nothing on earth but covetousness will keep them from doing just that.

Now, if I were a preacher you would no doubt immediately jump to the conclusion that I was a money hunter. That is why it is so hard for a poor minister to faithfully fill his calling by preaching a full gospel. But I repeat that I have never seen in all my life a true Old Baptist preacher preaching the truth for the money there was in it. Thank God they are just not built that way. Did you ever visit a church where the house was surrounded by modern automobiles whose value would more than build a good church house and whose Pastor received an average of about ten dollars per month? An able, full time pastor--worthy of double honor--ten dollars per month! O "how dwelleth the love of God" in that church?

If our people will show and fully express the honor our beloved ministers are worthy of we all will get a blessing and God will be honored with the honor we expend to His anointed servants.

R. W. Cothern

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The Primitive or Old School Baptists cling to the doctrines and practices held by Baptist Churches throughout America at the close of the Revolutionary War. This site is dedicated to providing access to our rich heritage, with both historic and contemporary writings.