the weblog of Alan Knox

Christians giving to other Christians in response to some service

Posted by on Oct 28, 2011 in community, hospitality, love, missional, scripture, service | 2 comments

Christians giving to other Christians in response to some service

This is the fifth post in my series on Christians and giving from the perspective of Scripture. (See the introduction post here.) I’ve already stated that giving directly to those in need is the most prevalent method of giving by Christians in the New Testament (either by example or instruction). There are also a few examples of Christians giving indirectly to people who are in need. Similarly, there are a few examples in Scripture of Christians giving to those who are traveling from place to place to proclaim the gospel or strengthen churches.

Finally, there are a couple of examples of Christians being encouraged to give in response to the service of some other Christians who are not traveling but are in the same city as themselves. The first example from Galatians is more broad in its context, so I’ll start with it:

One who is taught the word must share all good things with the one who teaches. (Galatians 6:6 ESV)

The other passage teaches something similar in response to the service of elders:

Let the elders who rule [lead] well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. (1 Timothy 5:17 ESV)

Similarly, Peter indicates that elders should not serve others only because they receive support, which indicates that some type of gift was often given to elders:

[S]hepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain [or, “not for monetary gain”], but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. (1 Peter 5:2-3 ESV)

In each of these instances, someone is sharing or giving something to another believer in response to some service. I think the order is important here: the service is performed (probably continually performed), then the gift is given. I think it’s also evident that the gift is not expected or promised, but is given freely and in gratitude. It’s also important that this type of giving is not limited to elders, but should be offered to any who consistently and continually serve someone or some group.

What would you add to this discussion of Christians giving to other Christians in response to some service?


Giving and the Church in Scripture Series:

1) Introduction
2) Christians giving directly to others because of need
3) Christians giving indirectly to others because of need
4) Christians giving to other Christians who are traveling from place to place
5) Christians giving to other Christians in response to some service


Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 10-29-2011

    Thanks for writing Alan. I have appreciated the series! First, I’d like to say that I have NO PROBLEM with saints giving money to other saints for whatever reason they have, so local or traveling both fall in this category. I might have a problem with saints asking for or receiving money from other saints (or outsiders) depending on the reason.

    That said, I’d like to say that the passages you quoted above seem strikingly vague compared to the passages you’ve used so far in the series. “double honor”, “all good things”, and “shameful gain”. I think it calls into question the idea that there’s even examples of Christians giving to local Christians in the New Testament.

    There’s my question, I’d benefit from hearing thoughts on.

    Let me expand the case of the “no” response to this question a little bit b/c that is where I lean currently.

    Unless I was looking for money related passages, I think I might easily read the above passages to be in regard to extra honor, sharing, and gaining shameful things; not money specifically.

    Looking at the context to the passages in Galatians doesn’t seem to help a mega-ton. Possibly Paul is referring to traveling saints who visit them- showing them hospitality in all its forms, sharing what they gained from the teaching, and possibly sending them on their way with money (possibly). As someone who enjoys teaching, I know HOW MUCH it does for me to have a fellow saint share with me the good things they gained from my instruction.

    The context of the Timothy passage seems to point away from the idea that double honor could mean money. Paul uses the same word honor to mean “honor” early and later in the letter.

    The context to the letter from Peter doesn’t help me a ton so far. I wonder if “shameful gain” is specific to money or more general like what comes along with leadership roles: respect, popularity, pride, importance, and the like.

    In light of vague passages, like I think the above ones are, I think of more direct passages like Paul instructing the elders in Ephesus (Acts 20)

    “I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

    Again, I am no against the idea of saints giving money to saints that live in their same city. On the contrary, I am for christians helping one another financially in whatever ways. I do question if there is New Testament precedent for giving money to local saints. ….Although I suppose the phenomena of the early years of the church in Jerusalem selling land and helping one another- even laying money at the apostles feet.

    Well, I hope that was clear and that I didn’t over-share, as sometimes I do 🙂 I look forward to reading the comments!

  2. 10-29-2011


    I think the “sharing” and “honor” could include some type of financial (or other material) portion. I do not think “sharing” and “honor” are limit to nor even primarily related to money or financial giving. Also, I agree completely that there is no indication in Scripture that a believer ASKS for financial remuneration either before or after rendering some type of service.

    By the way, I completely agree about the Acts 20 passage. That passage is pretty clear to me that Paul expected the elders in Ephesus to work with their hands to support themselves and others, just like he did.