Share the harvest
Who goes to war at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its fruit? Or who tends a flock and does not drink of the milk of the flock? 1 Corinthians 9:7
I have a garden. Just a small one, but I enjoy having the fresh vegetables when they are ready to be harvested. I don’t feel guilty about eating from the garden and I don’t feel shame because I enjoy my fresh veggies. You would think it strange and even ridiculous if I did have these feelings about eating from my own garden. I don’t begrudge anyone who plants a garden to eat of their own produce. Even if they have planted different crops than I have, I relate and like to hear and learn about their secrets of gardening. When the full harvest comes in, there is way to much for one household to consume, so we love sharing with extended family and friends. Others that we know appreciate it when fresh veggies come their way and they get to share in the blessing of our abundance.
This is a picture of what is happening in 1 Corinthians 9, the apostle Paul seems a bit irritated that he has been accused of taking gifts or offerings. I believe he was well within his rights to receive wages for sharing the gospel with them. Most churches support many mission and especially when a missionary personally comes to minister to the congregation. Why would they be upset with Paul, the founder of their church for accepting support for his labor. As you read further on, Paul admits that he hasn’t taken any funds and in fact says he would rather die than to lose the ability to boast about preaching with out charging for his time and words.
Paul continues in this chapter to say that he willingly preaches and builds the church. He recognizes that he has an eternal reward coming and is happy to preach without charge so he does not abuse his authority as an apostle.
How do we apply this in today’s world? It is our part to care for and bless our minister, pastors and teachers that preach the gospel in our church and those that we grow spiritually from. It makes my heart so sad to see a minister struggling to make ends meet. Many people think it is wrong for preachers to have money. The truth is, they should be continually blessed by their congregations because they are God’s gift to His people. Our hearts desires should be to make sure our pastors are overflowing with as much goodness as we can give them.
Today my encouragement to you is to first of all set aside some time to just pray for your pastor and church staff. Thank God for their life of ministry and serving. Send a card or message out to tell them how much you appreciate them and how thankful you are that they are God’s great gift to you. Lastly, send a special offering or gift their way to bless them for giving their life to full time ministry. You may have to save or set aside funds for a couple of weeks or so, but God’s ministers are worth every sacrifice you have to make.
Today’s scripture reading: 1 Corinthians 9:1-18