I don’t say these things merely as a man, do I? Doesn’t Torah also say these things? For it is written in the Torah of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it is threshing.” Is it the oxen that concern God, or is He speaking entirely for our sake? Yes, it was written for our sake, because the one plowing ought to plow in hope and the one threshing in hope of a share in the crop.
Dr. Rufus Columbus Burleson, immersed General Sam Houston (1793-1863), on 19 November 1854. General Houston, the man for whom the city of Houston is named, was the only person in U.S. history to serve as Governor of two different states--Tennessee (1827-1828) and Texas (1859-1861). General Houston was immersed on the Little Rocky Creek which runs just south of College Station, Texas and the Texas A & M University. It is said that when General Houston was about to be immersed a person standing near him said, “General Houston, you need to take your wallet out of your pants before you get in the water!” To this General Houston said, “It is not just me getting immersed today buy also my pocketbook!” It is said that after his immersion General Houston supported 50% of the pastors in his area out of his own personal income.
Rabbi Paul, long before General Houston, understood the importance of those serving the Gospel receiving a living through the Gospel. Knowing the Rabbi Paul has this discussion in the letter to the Corinthians and in 1 Timothy 5:18 tells us that it was just as controversial in the 1st century as it is today to talk about salaried clergy. Yet, Rabbi Paul says this mandate does not originate from his own authority but from the authority of the Torah established by Moses.
Over the years I have seen congregations suck dry the life of their ministers and I have seen congregations like the one I serve in rejoice in supporting their Rabbis. What makes the difference between the two? A resolute belief that the rabbis are performing a skilled task that they are benefiting from. Benefiting from the ministry programs, from the Word of God, from the Liturgy, from the Worship, from the Oneg Shabbats, literally everything that is going on in the synagogue is for the sake of the families who come for the first time and for those that call their synagogue “home.” Those people who see the work of ministry as just that work, they take delight in fulfilling this one command of Torah in supporting their rabbis and ministers.
May the Lord God of Israel open your eyes today to behold wonderful things from His Torah. May He show you the beauty and wonder of the oxen that are working hard in your midst. May He give you eyes to see their labors, struggles and sacrifices on behalf of the flock of God. May He give you a delight in those laboring hard on your behalf and may you be blessed by God’s ministry through them on your behalf.
For the Feed
General Houston was immersed on the Little Rocky Creek which runs just south of College Station, Texas and the Texas A & M University. It is said that when General Houston was about to be immersed a person standing near him said, “General Houston, you need to take your wallet out of your pants before you get in the water!” To this General Houston said, “It is not just me getting immersed today buy also my pocketbook!” I