(Image from Mike Breen’s Building a Discipling Culture.)
S (Scripture): 1 Corinthians 9:1 Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord? 9:2 If I am not an apostle to others, at least I am to you, for you are the confirming sign of my apostleship in the Lord. 9:3 This is my defense to those who examine me. 9:4 Do we not have the right to financial support?…9:11 If we sowed spiritual blessings among you, is it too much to reap material things from you? 9:12 If others receive this right from you, are we not more deserving?
O (Observation): The sign of Paul’s apostleship is that this faith community in Corinth even exists! He has put forth some effort on the Lord’s behalf, to sow the seeds of faith, and the Lord has seen fit to help that seed take root.
Paul talks about money and offerings on a few occasions. Mostly, he writes about supporting faith communities that are distant from one another, showing support from afar.
This time, however, Paul discusses the possibility of a faith community showing respect through supporting the apostles (carriers of the Message and witnesses to the town). They helped to plant the church, made sure they had the Scriptures, and helped them establish the faith community.
Paul’s apostleship is a privilege to him, as well as a possible means for remuneration.
A (Application): As a pastor, and as one who considers himself an apostle, I feel a kinship to Paul. According to Mike Breen’s Building a Discipling Culture, “apostles are visionary and pioneering, always pushing into new territory” (kindle location 1839). Sounds a little like Paul…and like my mode of operation. Another quote says: “They come up with innovative means to do kingdom work.”
Our call as apostles is to break ground by sharing God’s Good News – that we are set free from sin and death, and we are given hope in all things.
Paul dedicated his life to this work. I have done the same. In my mode, I’m in this as a full-time gig. I wonder if this will always be the case.
In the Old Testament, priests were dedicated to working in the Temple, and a portion of the meat sacrificed to God was given to the priests, since they “worked” in the Temple. Kind of the same thing with a pastor and a congregation.
I’m very grateful to be in this line of work, and grateful to carry the Gospel message as part of a specific faith community, in a real place of ministry.
P (Prayer): Lord, you’re followers need apostles…blazing new trails…carrying your message of hope. Help us see as you see: life, in the midst of death, light, in the midst of darkness. Amen.
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