Gospel Workers (1915 ed.)


Proper Remuneration for Ministers

In this life those engaged in the ministry should receive fitting remuneration for their labor. They give their entire time, thought, and effort to the service of the Master; and it is not in the order of God that the wages paid them should be insufficient to supply the needs of their families. The minister who does his share according to his ability should receive his just due. GW 449.1

The men who decide what each worker shall receive are to strive earnestly to meet the mind of God in their decisions. Some who have served on auditing committees have lacked in discrimination and judgment. At times the committee has been composed of men who had no real understanding of the situation of the workers, and who have again and again brought real oppression and want into families by their wrong decisions. Their management has given occasion for the enemy to tempt and discourage the workers, and in some cases has driven them from the field. GW 449.2

Scrupulous care should be shown in settling the accounts of the laborers. Those who are chosen to act on the auditing committee should be men of clear perception, acquainted with the work they are handling. They should be “able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness.” [Exodus 18:21.] GW 449.3

The minister should have a margin to work upon, for there are many calls made upon his financial resources. In his work he frequently finds people so poor that they have little to eat and wear, and no proper sleeping accommodations. He must give succor to the very needy, to supply their hunger and cover their nakedness. He is also expected to lead out in good enterprises, to help in building churches, and in advancing the cause of God in other lands. GW 449.4

God's chosen missionary can have no settled abode, but must take his family from place to place, often from country to country. The character of his work makes this necessary. But this frequent moving places him under heavy expense. Then, too, in order to exert a good influence, his wife and children, and he himself, must set a fitting example of neat and becoming dress. Their personal appearance, their living quarters, their surroundings,—all must tell in favor of the truth they advocate. They must always appear cheerful and fresh, that they may bring sunshine to those who need help. They are often obliged to entertain their brethren, and while they find this a pleasure, it is also an additional expense. GW 450.1

It is a terrible injustice for an auditing committee to disappoint a worthy minister who is in need of every cent that he has been led to expect. The Lord declares, “I the Lord love judgment, I hate robbery for burnt-offering.” [Isaiah 61:8.] He would have His people reveal a liberal spirit in all their dealings with their fellows. The principle underlying His command to ancient Israel, “Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn,” [1 Corinthians 9:9; See Deuteronomy 25:4.] is a principle that should never be set aside by any who have to do with the remuneration of those who have given themselves to advance God's cause in the world, and who spend their strength in lifting the minds of men from the contemplation of earthly things to the heavenly. God loves these workers, and He would have men respect their rights. GW 450.2

The eight-hour system finds no place in the program of the minister of God. He must hold himself in readiness for service at any hour. He must keep up his life and energy; for if he is dull and languid, he cannot exert a saving influence. If he occupies a position of responsibility, he must be prepared to attend board and council meetings, spending hours in brain- and nerve-taxing labor, planning for the advancement of the cause. Work of this kind is a heavy tax on mind and body. GW 451.1

The minister who has a due appreciation of service, regards himself as God's minuteman. When, with Isaiah, he hears the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” he responds, “Here am I; send me.” [Isaiah 6:8.] He cannot say, I am my own; I will do what I please with my time. No one who has given his life to God's work as His minister, lives for self. His work is to follow Christ, to be a willing agent and co-worker with the Master, receiving His Spirit day by day, and working as the Saviour worked, neither failing nor being discouraged. He is chosen of God as a faithful instrument to promote missionary work in all lands, and he must ponder well the path he follows. GW 451.2

Those who have never carried the burden of such work, and who suppose that the Lord's chosen and faithful ministers have an easy time, should bear in mind that sentinels for God are on duty constantly. Their labor is not measured by hours. When their accounts are audited, if selfish men, with voice or stroke of pen, limit them unduly in their wages, a great wrong is done. GW 451.3

Those who are bearing administrative burdens in connection with God's cause, can afford to be fair and true; they can afford to deal on right principles. When in a time of financial stress it is thought that wages must be reduced, let a circular be published setting forth the true situation, and then let those employed by the conference be asked whether, under the circumstances, they could do with less for their support. All the arrangements made with those in God's service should be regarded as a sacred transaction between man and his fellow-man. Men have no right to treat the workers as if they were inanimate objects, with no voice or expression of their own. GW 452.1