The elders of the church are the backbone.
Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward. (1 Timothy 5:17-18 KJV)
Timothy is speaking about elders in the church. Elders are the backbone of a healthy church. The wisdom these elder gentlemen have gained over the years is vital in the proper function of the church in all areas of ministry including overseeing the affairs of the church and encouraging spiritual maturity in younger men.
The gray haired gentlemen of the church did not come by their spiritual maturity easily or by chance but by laboring in God’s Word diligently and becoming intimately familiar with its doctrine and precepts. Every church needs the “white haired wisdom” of elderly members of their church; both for leadership of women and men.
Timothy states here that elders should be worthy of double honor. This honor could refer to wages received upon this earth for a position of leadership or pastorate of a church. Or this honor could refer to spiritual distinction or merit given by those who exist on a diet of milk maturing by following examples of leadership in the church.
This double honor could include additional eternal rewards to come in the heavenly realm for their faithful service and godly example for others to follow while sojourning upon this earth.