Archive for November 13th, 2010

1 Corinthians 9

1 Corinthians 9 takes us through Paul’s approach to his job as an apostle for Christ.  He is pretty straightforward in how he talks about the apparent accusations some were making on his taking advantage of his position.  He is pretty clear that as a minister of the gospel, he has the right to be taken care of by the gospel.  In fact he says it in that many words: “those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel”.  So if you had any question on whether pastors should be paid –  and there seems to be some who think they maybe can be paid but just not much – Paul dispels that clearly in this chapter. 

But Paul is not obsessed with his pay scale.  He makes the point that he works because of the mission he has been called to.  “We endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ”.  It is where God has clearly put him, and he takes that calling very seriously.  “For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel”!  Never wonder if Paul was all in for Jesus.  He knew what he was to do, and he realized that the ability he had to do it was from God.  It was heavy on his heart and it drove his actions and life.  He was willing to sacrifice self to complete God’s task for himself.  “For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them”.  He gave up his own rights to save people.  He was not focused on self – his eyes were on the end game.  He was all about winning people to Jesus. 

Paul tells us himself that he has become somewhat a chameleon in how he approached the task of sharing the gospel.  “I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some”.  He realized that not all would receive Jesus – but he was willing to take on people where they were: “Jew….under the law…..outside the law…..weak” – it didn’t matter where people were – he did all he could to go there and minister where they lived.  There was no holier than thou approach.  Paul was willing to do whatever it took for the sake of the gospel.  How about you?  Are you willing to give up self and minister where people are to win them for Jesus?

Paul ends the chapter reminding us that we have to stay focused and disciplined to achieve God’s plan for us.  Check out what he writes: ”Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified”.  Being a Christ Follower requires discipline.  It requires us seeing the goal and being completely focused on getting there.  It won’t happen if it is haphazard or we minister when we feel like it.  Being a minister of the gospel is not accidental.  It happens when we are single minded and working hard to be relevant in the battle.  Many may think they are in the race, but only a few will truly be able to complete it.  Are you one of those?

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