Good Morning, Saints of God,
A couple of Fridays ago Linda and I were planning on going to a place that existed years ago as a franchise but they closed it down in our area. It was called Prime Quarter where you can grill your own steaks over an open BBQ pit. The pit was rather large so that it could accommodate quite a few people around all four sides of the pit. They served a good meal with our choice of steaks all at the same price. We would get a filet mignon and we would butterfly it which means that we would cut it in half and it would be the same price for a cut of meat that was less expensive. It came with a baked potatoes, a great salad bar, some Texas toast and butter, and our choice of a drink (extra cost). We always chose water for our beverage. We would usually go early and avoid the crowded restaurant and be gone by the time the place filled up. It was near us (about two miles from our home) and we could use the rest of the evening to do our shopping, searching for things, or just bum around on our date night. But, they did close to our disappointed hearts. And because we wanted to do something special, we searched for the closest one to Milwaukee. It was in Janesville, Wisconsin over one hour away. We talked about it…the time, the gas, and the cost of the meal (the price probably went up and up). So, we decided to go to a newly opened store called Fresh Thyme. We went there and found a good cut of filet mignon, we had our baked potatoes, and freshly picked corn on the cob. Wow! It was one of the best meals that we have enjoyed for a long time. What a blessing. We are ready to do it again!!! God is so good!!!
1 Corinthians 9:12-15 - 12 If others share this rightful claim on you, do not we even more? Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ. 13 Do you not know that those who are employed in the temple service get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in the sacrificial offerings? 14 In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel. 15 But I have made no use of any of these rights, nor am I writing these things to secure any such provision. For I would rather die than have anyone deprive me of my ground for boasting. (ESV)
Subject: Paul Gives Up His Rights
Sometimes it is hard to give up our rights or entitlements. Not only do we enjoy our rights, but we expect them to continue to come our way. We appreciate the right of free speech, the right to bear arms, and many of the rights written in our United States Constitution. I am thankful for those rights and privileges and trust that we will have them for many decades to come.
Paul stated that he was not using this right or engaging to collect funds from the Christians in the Corinthian Church. He was willing to forego being paid for his spiritual duties in order to make the gospel “free of charge.”
But, he continues to develop another analogy of those who were priests in the Old Testament and were employed in the temple service of the Jews. They were to get their needs met from the temple. They would receive part of the animals and other items sacrificed to God and a portion would belong to the priests who were serving in the temple at that time.
Taking from that example, Paul says that the Lord Jesus stated that those who preach the gospel should get their living from the gospel (see Luke 10:7). As Jesus sent out the disciples to minister to the towns and villages in Judea he expected those who were believers to provide for their housing and needs along the way.
But, Paul said in verse 15, “I have made no use of any of these rights” that I have talked about in this chapter. And, he was not writing to get the Corinthians to provide for his needs at this time. He was content to work with his hands and to preach the gospel without charge to the Corinthian people. Warren Wiersbe writes, “We wonder what sinners must think when they attend “Gospel meetings” where a leader spends thirty minutes taking offerings or scolding the crowd for not giving more! There is so much of that going on today in our religious world.
When I was a young preacher and pastor, I was told about the 10% discount the clergy could receive for a purchase of any item (if the store offered such a discount). I have never asked for that discount from any establishment because I did not desire for the owner or the worker(s) to see me as greedy. I have at times surrendered my rights in the churches that I have served in order that the church “might survive financially” at that time. I have never regretted it and God has taken care of our needs as a family.
Paul said, “I would rather die of starvation or not having my needs met than to have anyone “deprive” me (take away the power or significance of this step of faith) and my ground for boasting.” Paul was honored for doing such a sacrificial thing for his Savior and the right to share the gospel “free of charge” to all who would hear him. What an honor this is!!!
Honored to preach the gospel,
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.
 Wiersbe, W. W. (1992). Wiersbe’s expository outlines on the New Testament (p. 445). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.