It Is Scriptural to Pay Preachers
by Billy Moore
via For a Better Understanding, March / April, 2010
"..the laborer is worthy of his hire... " (Luke 10:7).
"Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel" (I Corinthians 9:14).
"Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things" (Galatians 6:6).
The Way It Used to Be
As an example of the way it used to be, we are pleased to share the following: a letter from E.C. Fuqua in Fort Worth. Texas. [Written many years ago.]
Dear Brother Howell:
Your interesting letter and check for $5.00 just received, with sincere thanks for both. Especially my remembrance to Bro. Gus Dunn and his one visit to my cabin home in Mississippi. Bro. Dunn and I were both preaching the Gospel around Water Valley, Mississippi, and so far as I knew, I was alone — until Gus knocked on my cabin door.
A cabin had just one small room, one door, no window, and a "stick and dirt" chimney that we could never warm by — it would catch fire easily. My mother and my wife tried to live in such a cabin. We had only one bed and Mother had to have that. Wife and I slept on the floor. Mother died a short time before Bro. Dunn visited us.
The cemetery was about 200 yards from my cabin door. I had no horse and no buggy. I preached at Hatton, Mississippi, six month, to a small bunch that attended. From my cabin, it was eleven miles to Hatton. I walked the distance (22) miles never failing to show up for services. Some times it was raining. One time I remember, I became so sleepy that I pulled high broom sage and made me a bed and never waked up until the sun was up (my wife was frantic when I did not get home as I never failed before).
So far as I can now remember, I never received one penny for the six months preaching, but a Bro. Hughes came to see me and brought a dozen eggs. I was also given credit at a store to the extent of a small "side of bacon." The eggs and bacon were assembled just a few hours before Gus Dunn knocked on my door. (Was that Providential?) Anyhow, that is how Gus got dinner that day! Bro Dunn stayed most of the night, and we counted our blessings and went to bed (and the floor). The bacon left from supper we put away carefully.
But that night, while we were sleeping, a mountain lion came in and tried to carry our bacon to his lair. He got the piece but could not get it through the half-door — the rest he left for us. A couple of neighborhood boys, the next day, went hunting for that lion and treed it in a tall sweet-gum. From head to tail that lion measured 9 feet. In my walks, for 6 months. I feared contact with other beasts but was never actually attacked.
In "stickability" it cost a lot to hold a meeting under such circumstances. No money was exchanged, for there wasn't any: it was dire suffering most of the time.
Before moving to this cabin we rented (?) another cabin, at Paris, Mississippi. It was, to be accurate, a cow shed. Mother was then living but in very poor health. She was given our only bed and wife and I slept on the floor, or on corn stalks for a mattress.
Hunger again stalked us until I remembered a sister some ten miles away who had asked if we needed any food. I kissed my wife and mother and marched into the darkness. It was raining. After midnight I reached that sister's home and knocked on the door. When she and her husband heard my voice they dressed and came out. I told my story and they took me to the smokehouse and took down a small side of bacon to take home to a hungry wife and mother in the cow-shed, but when I got home with the bacon, there was nothing in the way of food to go with it. So we three ate bacon (minus). I was preaching every night, some 5 or 6 miles from my cow-shed home, and walking as usual.
This account of some of my struggles haunted me for three whole years, and I suspect that Bro. Dunn had like success — if that word truly expresses the situation. I baptized many people and I am quite sure it was not without suffering that attended those baptisms. God knows.
Brother Howell, I am thankful that you are not suffering so much, and that you will soon be well again. Your checks are deeply appreciated and while I am not preaching any more. I do all the more, appreciate the spirit of your letter. I would like to hear from brother Dunn.
Yours in Christ Jesus
E. C. Fuqua
P.S. I may miss in figures to a small extent, but of facts I am sure. I daily pray for those who, in face of adversity, have sacrificed for Christ and His wonderful Gospel. Utterly unworthy of praise or even thanks. I look forward in love. (E. C. F.)
-via Magnolia Messenger, Oct-Dec, 09
"Fuqua plunged into mission work in spite of little hope of financial gain. Between 1899 and 1902 he evangelized in Mississippi." (Search for the Ancient Order, Vol. III. p.113).