Question:

I am a member of a large, conservative church of Christ. The one thing that bothers me is that we have a lady, who I love dearly, who has been the "church secretary" for many years and being paid a salary. I can't find where this is scriptural. The other congregations in our city have members who voluntarily put out the bulletin and the like, and I feel this is good. I just think how this much money could help support spreading the gospel. And yes, I would volunteer my time to help. Can you give me biblical authority for this?


Answer:

"For it is written in the law of Moses, "You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain." Is it oxen God is concerned about? Or does He say it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written, that he who plows should plow in hope, and he who threshes in hope should be partaker of his hope" (I Corinthians 9:9-10).

A principle God has long taught is that a person who provides a service should be compensated for his work. "Woe to him who builds his house by unrighteousness and his chambers by injustice, who uses his neighbor's service without wages and gives him nothing for his work" (Jeremiah 22:13).

Churches were told to provide for worthy widows. "Honor widows who are really widows. ... Do not let a widow under sixty years old be taken into the number, ..." (I Timothy 5:1, 9). It is perfectly acceptable to compensate such women in exchange for services done for the church. I've known of several cases where a woman would not accept a free handout, but was willing to earn her keep.

I don't know the woman's situation or the reasoning behind the decision to employ her as a secretary for the church, but there can be acceptable reasons to pay someone for their services. There are congregations that pay for lawn care and the cleaning of the building. Most use volunteers to accomplish those tasks, but there are situations where paying someone makes more sense and if that pay can benefit a member of the congregation, then it makes even better sense.

Thank you for your response. This gives me a much clearer understanding, and I no longer have an uneasy feeling about it.