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In the Gates

The Duties of Those Served

Abiding Principles from the Ceremonial Laws: The Ceremonial Laws in the New Covenant (3)


God’s people are to provide for their ministers, and submit to their pastoral care.

One who is taught the word must share all good things with the one who teaches. Galatians 6.9

As Paul expected ministers to emulate the calling of Old Covenant priests, he expected the people served by those ministers to be faithful in providing for the material needs of their shepherds. The minister’s duty is to teach the Word so as to care for and nurture the souls of God’s people. Those who benefit from that care and feeding must not be reluctant to provide for the material needs of those who teach them.

In 1 Corinthians 9 Paul was even more adamant. He withered the Corinthians for their failure to provide for him while he was serving among them: “If we have sown spiritual things among you, is it too much if we reap material things from you? If others share this rightful claim on you, do not we even more?” (vv. 11, 12)

Paul was not auguring for “back pay.” He knew the Lord would always meet his needs. But there were other needs in the Body of Christ worldwide, and the churches in Macedonia and Greece were being called on to relieve the suffering, because of drought, of the Christians in Palestine. It was right that these churches should do so, because, as Paul explained to the Romans, the Christians in Palestine were the spiritual fathers of the Christians in Macedonia and Greece (Rom. 15.26, 27). The Gentile believers in Europe had gained spiritual life through the generosity of the Jewish believers in Palestine, so now they “were pleased” to return a material offering to help alleviate their suffering.

Thus the ceremonial laws remind the people of God that they must be diligent and generous in caring for those who nurture them spiritually. The ministerial ox who treads out the grain which feeds the people of God should be allowed to benefit from a share of that grain (1 Cor. 9.3-10), freely and happily given by the people they are serving with the Word of God. God’s people can learn from the instructions about tithes and offerings in the Old Covenant how to care for the material needs of those who watch over the wellbeing of their souls.

For a fuller study of the pattern of worship revealed in Scripture, order the book, The Highest Thing, by T. M. Moore, from our online store. These studies and brief essays will help you to see how the pattern of sound worship, which began in the Law of God, comes to complete expression in the rest of Scripture. Pastors, we’re getting ready to start the next season of The Pastors’ Fellowship. Write to me today at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for information about how you join in these online discussions. Our theme for the coming series is “The Worldview of God’s Law.” There is no charge for participation, but you must reserve a place for these monthly gatherings. Subscribe to Crosfigell, the devotional newsletter of The Fellowship of Ailbe.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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