Hello, Believer in Christ,
Last Friday afternoon Linda and I had the opportunity to attend a wedding for one of Linda’s closer friend’s, Ellie Colombo, for her daughter, Katie. In one way it was unusual and yet it was very important to Ellie who had been waiting for this event in her life since Katie was born. About three months ago Ellie asked me to have a “Ceremony of Blessing” and a prayer of blessing on Katie and her husband, Nicola. He is from Italy. They were in the same apartment complex when they met in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. They met and a short time later they were engaged. Within five months after they met they were married on the same rooftop on which they met. The first marriage took place on July 1, 2017. Shortly afterward they flew to Italy to have Katie meet Nicola’s family and have another wedding ceremony and celebration. It was a joyous occasion for Nicola’s family and the festivities were magnificent. They took a honeymoon trip in Italy and flew back home to Florida. On Friday, August 25, 2017, Ellie had planned a third wedding ceremony and celebration at the Botanical Gardens near West Allis. It was an informal time of gathering before the ceremony…trying to get all the cues for the bride, groom, ring bearers, and flower girls together. It was a very fun wedding ceremony as I enjoyed the light-hearted time of recalling some of the events before their first wedding and entered into sharing the gospel message and a message to the bride and groom. There was a time of taking pictures, a few snacks, and a time of chatting with one another. The meal and celebration was later. I had a short time to share the gospel with one person and prayed for her since that time. Yes, three marriage ceremonies inside of two months. Ellie was very pleased to be a part of this special time with her daughter, family, and friends. It was a privilege to be a part of this occasion and especially of sharing the gospel to about 100 people.
1 Corinthians 9:4-6 - 4 Do we not have the right to eat and drink? 5 Do we not have the right to take along a believing wife, as do the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas? 6 Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working for a living?
Subject: The Rights of an Apostle
We live in a world where we are concerned about our rights (privileges, entitlements) in our lives. What does one expect when we are told since we are young, “You have to take care of #1…YOU!” You must focus all your time, energy, and attention upon yourself, if you do not, who will? We have become a very self-centered society even among Christians.
It is what we call the disease of PRIDE. The third letter in that word is “I”. Many times the only person who does not know they have this disease is the one who has it. It may seem like Paul is speaking with some pride about himself, but his bottom line is the issue of having the rights of an apostle which he has “given up”.
Yes, the other apostles have accepted the rights that those things that their followers of Jesus Christ had given them the privilege to maintain. These rights go back to the Scriptures which support the financial and material needs of a full time minister of the Word of God. That is why he asks the question, “Do we not have the right to eat and drink or take along with us in our travels a believing wife?” The answer to those questions would be, “Yes, you have this privilege and entitlement.”
But, the last question is about “refraining from physical work” outside the ministry for a living? Again the answer the answer is yes! If you jump ahead in this passage to verse 12, Paul writes, “Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right.” We will learn more about his reasoning later in the text.
Paul is laying the groundwork for speaking about the right of a full time worker for Christ be it an apostle, a prophet, a teacher, a pastor, or a missionary in our culture. God has ordained that a man of God has the right to expect financial remuneration (payment, salary, compensation) for his spiritual ministry. As you may know, some church groups would deny this for their pastors. But as you will see, it is something that God has made plain…tomorrow we shall pursue this matter in greater detail.
In His grace,
Scripture is from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.