Monday, November 16, 2009

1 Corinthians 9:1-14 (Vocational Ministry)

Paul continues his argument that, as Christians, we often have to sacrifice our freedom and rights for the sake of others. Specifically here he speaks of the right that church leaders have to earn their living from ministry.

Ever hear somebody say that they can’t believe that they get paid for doing something that they love to do? There are some ministers of the Gospel who feel this way. There are a lot more Christians who feel this way about some ministers of the Gospel! Sometimes “the Gospel” is just an excuse for people to get a paycheck. There are lots of pastors and “professional Christians” who give the dedicated a bad name.

More often the opposite is the case. There are tons of pastors and missionaries who work more than they should, neglecting their own spiritual and physical health, their marriages and children. Sometimes this is done out of a sense of responsibility, and a higher understanding of their own worth and value for the Gospel. They forget that God does the most work and delivers the most results. Other times, it is done out of a completely non-spiritual reason—power. There are plenty of pastors out there who were never called of God; they just like having power.

Either way, Paul here says that he has never earned his living from the churches he planted. He could, but he doesn’t. Most models of missions today don’t either. They are supported by established churches and not the new work. Sometimes that is bad in that the new work never learns to support their own leadership. On the other hand, “new” models of church require less money than “traditional” ones.

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