1 Corinthians 9:1-14
9 Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Haven’t I seen Jesus our Lord? Aren’t you the result of my work for the Lord? 2 Even though others may not think of me as an apostle, I am certainly one to you! You are the proof that I am the Lord’s apostle. 3 That is what I say to stand up for myself when people judge me. 4 Don’t we have the right to eat and drink? 5 Don’t we have the right to take a believing wife with us when we travel? The other apostles do. The Lord’s brothers do. Peter does. 6 Or are Barnabas and I the only ones who have to work for a living? 7 Who serves as a soldier but doesn’t get paid? Who plants a vineyard but doesn’t eat any of its grapes? Who takes care of a flock but doesn’t drink any of the milk? 8 Do I say that from only a human point of view? The Law says the same thing. 9 Here is what is written in the Law of Moses. “Do not stop an ox from eating while it helps separate the grain from the straw.” (Deuteronomy 25:4) Is it oxen that God is concerned about? 10 Doesn’t he say that for us? Yes, it was written for us. When a farmer plows and separates the grain, he does it because he hopes to share in the crop. 11 We have planted spiritual seed among you. Is it too much to ask that we receive from you some of the things we need? 12 Others have the right to receive help from you. Don’t we have even more right to do so? But we didn’t use that right. No, we have put up with everything. We didn’t want to keep the good news of Christ from spreading. 13 Don’t you know that those who work in the temple get their food from the temple? Don’t you know that those who serve at the altar eat from what is offered on the altar? 14 In the same way, those who preach the good news should receive their living from their work. That is what the Lord has commanded.
Here in these verses, Paul is outlining all that is rightfully owed to him, as an apostle and preacher to the Corinthians – and it is clearly in response to some criticism about Paul. The tone of the letter seems strong, even irritated, but Paul reminds the Corinthians (and also us – reading today) that he is not telling them his rights so he can demand them.
Verse 12b is not what I was expecting.
“Nevertheless, we did not use this right, but we endure all things so that we will cause no hindrance to the gospel of Christ.” 1 Cor 9:12b
He doesn’t present a clear cut case so he can benefit from it. He answers his critics and then reminds the Corinthians about what is really important to him – the gospel.
I live in a culture that is very aware of its rights and very demanding about getting them – there is a real sense of entitlement.
Paul reminds me here that the culture around me – is not God’s. My culture – is Kingdom culture. Kingdom Culture is generous and thankful. Rather than demanding rights, I am to be thankful for all I have and prepared to share it so others can discover God’s Kingdom through me.
Lord thank you for reminding me about what it’s like to live in your Kingdom. Thank You for al that You have done for me and all that You are doing in me. Keep changing me – so that it is clear I am living in Your Kingdom, and may it cause the people around me to come to know You.
Written by Ps. Linda Quinn