Ecclesiastes 3 & 1 Timothy 5

Ecclesiastes 3

    For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

    a time to be born, and a time to die;
    a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
    a time to kill, and a time to heal;
    a time to break down, and a time to build up;
    a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
    a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
    a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
    a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
    a time to seek, and a time to lose;
    a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
    a time to tear, and a time to sew;
    a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
    a time to love, and a time to hate;
    a time for war, and a time for peace.
        What gain has the worker from his toil? I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God's gift to man.

    I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him. That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already has been; and God seeks what has been driven away.

    Moreover, I saw under the sun that in the place of justice, even there was wickedness, and in the place of righteousness, even there was wickedness. I said in my heart, God will judge the righteous and the wicked, for there is a time for every matter and for every work. I said in my heart with regard to the children of man that God is testing them that they may see that they themselves are but beasts. For what happens to the children of man and what happens to the beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts, for all is vanity. All go to one place. All are from the dust, and to dust all return. Who knows whether the spirit of man goes upward and the spirit of the beast goes down into the earth? So I saw that there is nothing better than that a man should rejoice in his work, for that is his lot. Who can bring him to see what will be after him?

(Ecclesiastes 3 ESV)

    Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity.

    Honor widows who are truly widows. But if a widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show godliness to their own household and to make some return to their parents, for this is pleasing in the sight of God. She who is truly a widow, left all alone, has set her hope on God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day, but she who is self-indulgent is dead even while she lives. Command these things as well, so that they may be without reproach. But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

    Let a widow be enrolled if she is not less than sixty years of age, having been the wife of one husband, and having a reputation for good works: if she has brought up children, has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the saints, has cared for the afflicted, and has devoted herself to every good work. But refuse to enroll younger widows, for when their passions draw them away from Christ, they desire to marry and so incur condemnation for having abandoned their former faith. Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not. So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander. For some have already strayed after Satan. If any believing woman has relatives who are widows, let her care for them. Let the church not be burdened, so that it may care for those who are truly widows.

    Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.” Do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses. As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear. In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of the elect angels I charge you to keep these rules without prejudging, doing nothing from partiality. Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, nor take part in the sins of others; keep yourself pure. (No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.) The sins of some people are conspicuous, going before them to judgment, but the sins of others appear later. So also good works are conspicuous, and even those that are not cannot remain hidden.

(1 Timothy 5 ESV)

1 Timothy 5: In the Old Testament, God commanded His people to set apart at least one-tenth of their yearly earnings in order to support the priests who were supposed to dedicate their lives to care for the spiritual needs of God’s people. Later in the New Testament, we see our Lord actually underscore this principle when He sends out His disciples and tells them to not take any money, or any extra bags or extra clothes with them because in His words “the laborer deserves his food" (Matthew 10). Our Lord literally puts His disciples in a position where their mission must be supported by those they minister to. Supporting those who have dedicated their lives to the spread of the gospel and to the service of God’s children is a longstanding godly principle that is meant to humble those who receive the gifts and to bless those who give them.

Church leaders and ministry leaders serve God’s people by fighting for their protection from the enemy, helping them produce a fruitful harvest, and caring for them like a shepherd does for his sheep. As believers, we ought to show our gratitude by supporting and taking care of those who have dedicated their lives to serve our spiritual needs. The apostle Paul declared that financial support is a practical way to honor faithful service and hard work for the Kingdom of God.

Paul writes, “Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.”

Now, it should be made clear that we need to desperately exercise wisdom and discernment when it comes to giving our money (which is God’s money) to various church leaders and ministries. In Paul’s letter to Timothy and in his letter to Titus, he gives some specific instructions as to what ministry leaders should and shouldn’t be like. He orders that leaders in ministry should not be lovers of money, they should never pursue dishonest gain, and they should never show any signs of greed. Instead they should be devoted and always eager to serve others. Scripture warns us that there will be false teachers among us that will seek to exploit us with false truths because of their desire for financial prosperity (2 Peter). We need to study those we support and make sure that they are working to expand God’s Kingdom rather than the advancement of their own.

That being said, we are responsible for taking care of those who have shown great integrity in the way that they have served the Lord and served us. Paul encouraged believers to care of their leaders financially, especially those who were teaching them the Word of God.  

"Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches" (Galatians 6).

Who are the men in your life that you have benefited from spiritually, and how can you support their ministry? What particular ministries have had a significant impact on your faith and what are ways that you can support their efforts? What church family are you apart of and are you helping to support their financial needs? Scripture is clear, we are called to support those who serve us spiritually. How are you caring for those who have dedicated their lives to caring for your soul?