Sharing Good Things – A New Testament Principle

In Paul’s letter to the saints in Galatia, he deals with some false teaching as it pertains to the gospel. The primary focus of the letter is to ensure that the Galatians are not being led astray by false teachers who would seek to bind them to a system of legalism. The substance of the letter reveals how vital good, solid teachers are to the spiritual life of an assembly. The Bible also gives us clear instruction about how believers should value teachers and support them.

One of the practical points of instruction in this letter addresses this topic. In Galatians 6:6, Paul writes “One who is taught the word must share all good things with the one who teaches.” This command (notice the word MUST) seems to be pretty clear and yet how many believers today actually practice this on a personal level? Notice as well, that the instruction says “ONE who is taught”. This is not a CORPORATE principle; rather it is an individual principle.

Sadly, it appears that many believers have abdicated this responsibility and the responsibility of ministering to the Lord’s work and His workers to the corporate body or some other para-church ministry. Rather than giving based on an individual spiritual exercise as specifically burdened by the Lord, believers tend to routinely give to the local assembly and then feel that their job is done.

The assembly becomes a conduit for collecting funds – often far more than what is needed for the ministry and the expenses of the local assembly. Then a few of the brothers decide what to do with the excess funds. Clearly, as the funds are distributed by a few, they are not being distributed the way that each individual in the assembly would minister them. The corporate disbursement of funds does NOT alleviate the individual responsibility to minister as burdened by the Lord.

How have YOU shared with the one who has taught you the Word? Let me ask this question a different way. How have you OBEYED Galatians 6:6? By giving to the assembly? Does every assembly minister financially to the men (often local) who teach the Word? Often times, the answer is NO. Let’s look at Galatians 6:6 again. Notice that there is NO mention of the Bible teacher’s needs or wants. This command is not for the benefit of the teacher. It is for the benefit of the student. It is GOOD for the people of God to be exercised to support those who labor among them! It is good for the people of God to think about what they minister and to whom they minister.

Yes, we need to provide for the needs of the local assembly and the work of the local assembly, but if the assembly is merely a conduit for our routine giving – one without exercise, we are not practicing New Testament principles as outlined in Galatians 6:6, as well as 1 Corinthians 9:11, 1 Corinthians 9:14, and 1 Timothy 5:17-18.

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Digital Sojourner would like to thank Mike Stoudt for writing this guest post. Mike fellowships with the saints who gather at Grace Gospel Chapel in Allentown, PA. Mike is a Certified Public Accountant and owner of Stoudt Financial Services and serves as the General Manager of Greenwood Hills Camp & Conference Center.

3 comments

  1. Mike, Scott – This is so very true. Well-written, and needed. It reveals Biblical principles that frankly, are very difficult for a “full-time” worker to share. I’ve taught through Galatians a few times, and as it’s there, I’ve had to handle this; but it is hard to. The church age moved from the tithe – the “tenth part” which was required, to giving liberally, voluntarily, and delightedly. I guess what I find most frustrating in the dichotomy of wishing it was easier to teach versus the reality, is that individuals are only cheating themselves when they aren’t burdened to give of that which the Lord has blessed them with. I remember so many times, when we were in secular work, where what we gave was more of a blessing to us than it even was to the workers we gave to! Mike is a successful businessman who also does a lot of travel and speaking, and his hands aren’t tied. Since this body of teaching is frankly easier for elders and those who work in secular work, he’s well-positioned to write this. So, I thank you both – for writing and publishing this. We serve a God Who can not back out on His promises; He has promised to take care of His workers. But, today, I feel that there are a lot less who are sensitive to this than in the past, and it only cheats them.

    • Thanks Alan for your encouraging comments! It is true that teaching in this important area is often lacking. Probably out of fear that it might look like a concealed plea for contributions! How unfortunate, as it forms a vital part of His Word.

      You mentioned that in your preaching you handled this subject as you were teaching though the book of Galatians. Ah, the value of consecutive Bible teaching…. addressing each topic as it appears in God’s Word.

  2. Mike Stoudt

    Alan and Scott, credit goes to the conveners of the Shepherding Conference and Rise Up 2011 as both groups asked me to speak on Supporting the Work and the Worker. I have no qualms speaking about this, because, as Alan pointed out, the individual believer is the one who is being hurt by withholding. I also find that believers have become “lazy” in habitually giving almost exclusively to the local assembly and then abdicating the responsibility of truly ministering to the work and the workers. And what is even sadder is assemblies sitting on funds (lots of funds) when so much of the Lord’s work goes unfunded or poorly funded. I don’t blame the men who make those decisions – it starts with the givers. If the assembly isn’t using what it already has, why do we continue to give lots of money to it every week?