Good Morning, Christian,
It was a busy week and we had “tons” of things to do. I worked out at our Wisconsin Athletic Club and was returning to the parking lot to open the tailgate. The latch to open the tailgate did not work, it was broken. I called up my mechanic, Lance, a super guy and told him my problem. It was Thursday and we were heading for Prairie Du Chein on Sunday afternoon. I asked him if he could fix it before the weekend. He said he would like to have the vehicle for that day so he could try to get a part for the 2000 Toyota van. As I was traveling after WAC to pick up my young man, Jesus (his real name), and go out to lunch with him before he heads out to college as a sophomore, I was rolling down my driver’s side window, it stopped mid-way to the bottom. I worked on trying to see if it would move up or down…nothing. As I picked up Jesus, I told him of the change in plans to drop off the van at the mechanic’s shop and then go out to lunch. Linda was on her way to pick us up and we would drop her off on the way to our restaurant. To make a long story short…he found the part and the van was ready by noon the next day. What a blessing. We could now use it for our trip to Prairie Du Chein. God is so good!!!
1 Corinthians 9:6-10 - 6 Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working for a living? 7 Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard without eating any of its fruit? Or who tends a flock without getting some of the milk? 8 Do I say these things on human authority? Does not the Law say the same? 9 For it is written in the Law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain.” Is it for oxen that God is concerned? 10 Does he not certainly speak for our sake? It was written for our sake, because the plowman should plow in hope and the thresher thresh in hope of sharing in the crop.
Subject: The Law Applies to Apostles
The discussion is about paying apostles for their spiritual labors for the Lord Jesus Christ. Yesterday we saw the questions that Paul brought up about having the right to earn his living through his apostolic ministry for food, drink, his family, and not having to work physically at a secular job for a living.
Today Paul deepens his arguments about this matter by a whole series of questions. He speaks about a soldier who works for the government and where he gets his pay check. Does a soldier expect to work for nothing and pay for his own expenses? This would include his clothing, shelter, weapons, and other needs in his life.
What about a farmer who plants a vineyard and when the harvest of the fruit comes, does he not eat of the grapes from the vine? What about a shepherd of a flock of sheep and goats, does he not take some of the milk for himself for nourishment? Both the farmer and the shepherd earn their living from the work that they do with the plants or cattle. In fact, they are dependent upon the harvest at the end of their journey of the day or harvest season to care for their needs.
Paul uses the Old Testament Law to support his perspective of a man who does spiritual work to expect to be paid from that source. He quotes Deuteronomy 25:4 as his source regarding the oxen and the grain. When the ox is treading out the grain, he should not be muzzled so that he may eat as much of the grain as he wants. That is how he gains enough strength to do his work for the farmer.
Is God only concerned about the oxen? Paul says here is the application of this verse in the Bible. It is for the sake of the apostles that this verse is stated (as well as in 1 Tim. 5:18 regarding pastors). That is why the plowman and thresher (v.10) work so hard because of the hope (expectation) of sharing in the crop. We as spiritual workmen serve as ministers of God’s people to share in the crop of our labors. This is the application of this passage. Your pastor(s) labors and serves the Lord in the work of God to bear fruit from their labors. As they minister in the spiritual realm they are expected to be paid in the material realm. As Paul shares in 1 Tim. 5:18, “The laborer (pastor) deserves his wages.” This goes for missionaries and other full time workers for the Lord!
Privileged to serve Christ,
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.