Saturday, May 25, 2024

A Command from God (1 Corinthians 9:12-14)

"Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel" (1 Cor. 9:14).

This passage says, “the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel.” The support of ministers is not a request but a command from God Himself. It is a command to ministers to earn their support through their ministerial work and not from worldly avocations, and it is a command to the church to support them. This language should humble every preacher and every church as they consider the high calling of ministers. God has set apart those who would minister in His house. Those who have been thus called are to be highly esteemed and respected within the Christian community. It is too often the case for those who work in worldly professions to consider the preaching of the gospel as outside the realm of “real” work or “difficult” work. This is a worldly attitude that should be driven from the minds of God’s people. Ministers of the Gospel should be valued as God values them, so much so that the church itself is entrusted with their care.

Despite the command of God and despite the right Paul had to receive support, he refused it so that his work of preaching the Gospel would be unhampered by suspicion and accusation. From this case, we learn that there are exceptions to the rule of receiving support. If the spread of the Gospel is hindered, it is best to forego this right. “There are circumstances under which, as the case of Paul shows, this command ceases to be binding on preachers,” Hodge writes. “These are exceptions, to be justified, each on its own merits; the rule, as a rule, remains in force. If this subject were viewed in this light, both by preachers and people, there would be little difficulty in sustaining the gospel, and few ministers would be distracted by worldly pursuits.”

Paul willingly took on the extra burden of outside work so that the purpose of the Gospel would go unhindered. We would be remiss if we did not acknowledge and meditate on the self-denial that pervaded Paul’s character. He was willing to give up everything, even his own comfort, to see the Gospel proclaimed. His primary concern at all times was not his own rights but the advancement of Christ’s kingdom. As a true servant of Christ who loved God’s people, Paul lived solely for the glory of God.

Sometime this week do something for the minister or Elders in your church. Invite him and his family to dinner, write a note of encouragement, write him a letter telling him the things you appreciate and respect about him. If there is something you know he wants or needs, and if you’re able, give it to him as a gift of thanks.