Happy Wednesday! Yesterday we began reading about Paul’s response to the Corinthian church concerning his work in sharing the gospel without a form of payment. Paul explained, while as an Apostle he had the right to receive support from the church, he made a decision not to seek support. Join me today as we continue reading 1 Corinthians chapter eight.
“7 What soldier has to pay his own expenses? What farmer plants a vineyard and doesn’t have the right to eat some of its fruit? What shepherd cares for a flock of sheep and isn’t allowed to drink some of the milk? 8 Am I expressing merely a human opinion, or does the law say the same thing? 9 For the law of Moses says, “You must not muzzle an ox to keep it from eating as it treads out the grain.”[d] Was God thinking only about oxen when he said this? 10 Wasn’t he actually speaking to us? Yes, it was written for us, so that the one who plows and the one who threshes the grain might both expect a share of the harvest.
11 Since we have planted spiritual seed among you, aren’t we entitled to a harvest of physical food and drink? 12 If you support others who preach to you, shouldn’t we have an even greater right to be supported? But we have never used this right. We would rather put up with anything than be an obstacle to the Good News about Christ.” – 1 Corinthians 9:7-12 NLT
Paul’s love for sharing the gospel (the Good News about Christ was more important to him, than any obstacle (e.g., support) that may hinder the church. See, many followers had been abused by ministers or so called prophets who spoke “in the name of Jesus” so that they can live a lavish lifestyle. Paul was not that way. He reminded them that even before other reputable Apostles came to Corinth, who they supported, he was there building the church, establishing the foundation of their understanding of the gospel message.
Sisters and brothers, as believers we sometimes are taken back by the lifestyles we see others live. We at times are envious, jealous or judgmental about people who work for the Lord as their sole occupation. While, I don’t know every situation, I don’t know the details of the sacrifices that all ministers and pastors have made to share the gospel and I don’t plan on being God by judging others, but what I do want to encourage you to do is pray for your church and for ministries around the world. If God leads you to support your pastor, your church or other ministers then be obedient to what the Lord leads you to do. If you struggle in the area of giving financial support (for one reason or another), pray about it and ask the Lord to reveal to you what should be done. Until the Lord leads you to provide financial support, keep providing spiritual support via prayer, via volunteer work in or for the church or other ministries and open your heart to the needs of those around you. However, don’t let an offering basket or request for donations be an obstacle to your faith. Keep believing and trusting God to lead you in these areas.
Father God, we thank you for all the things that you have done for us. Lord, we thank you for your faithfulness and for your provision over our lives. Lord, you have been so good to us. Lord, thank you for the people who you placed into our lives to share the gospel message of Jesus Christ with us. Lord, thank you for the salvation that we received freely from you. Lord, forgive us for the times when we have been judgmental of pastors, churches and ministries. Lord, forgive us for the times when we did not support the local church or struggling pastors who gave everything they had for the sake of saving souls. Lord, forgive us for being selfish or fearful of releasing funds from our hands to help the local church. Lord, work in us and show us how you desire for us to support the local church, ministries abroad and missionaries in the field. Lord, we want to help share your message with the world. Lead us and teach us in this area of support. Lord, help us to recognize the gifts that you have given us and guide us on how to use those gifts to support the church and your kingdom. Lord, continue to work in us and change us. Lord, we also pray for the people who have been impacted by hurricane Dorian. Lord, we pray for the people in the Bahamas and all the other islands who suffered loss, casualties and are without basic needs. Lord, we pray for family members to be found, for the waters to recede and for help to arrive. Lord, we pray for rebuilding and resilience for those communities. In Jesus name, amen.
Keep praying! Keep Trusting! Keep believing!
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