Monday, 15 September 2014
What is my reward then? That when I preach the gospel, I may present the gospel of Christ without charge, that I may not abuse my authority in the gospel. 1 Corinthians 9:18
Paul noted already that “necessity” was laid upon him to preach the gospel and that he had no expectation of a reward of compensation from those he preached to. However, this doesn’t mean there was no reward at all in his preaching, and so he asks, “What is my reward then?” There is always a reward for fulfilling one’s duties.
If a person has a job and he fulfills his duties, he will receive wages for doing that job. However, if he is a slave, he won’t receive any wages. Nevertheless, he has a reward. If he has a harsh master and he fails to work, the master may beat him. His reward then when doing his job is to simply not be beaten. If he has a kind master who would never beat him, he will still lose his reward if he fails to work. It will be whatever punishment the master decides upon. But being a kind and gentle master, when the slave does his job, the reward may be a smile, a thumbs up, or a thank you. Though none are required, they are a reward in and of themselves.
But there is also the reward of merely doing the job because it is a job that the slave loves. He loves his master, he loves the type of work he is doing, and he loves that it gets done. The satisfaction is in the doing. This is Paul’s reward. As he says, “That when I preach the gospel, I may present the gospel of Christ without charge.” Because he had necessity laid upon him, he followed through with that which impelled him and he found satisfaction in that. Had he asked for or received any wages for his work, then it would mean he was being rewarded for something he had to do. In this, there would be a taking advantage of his rights in a way which he felt was inappropriate. Instead, he refused this right, as he says, “that I may not abuse my authority in the gospel.
Life application: If you are employed and have set wages and benefits which you regularly receive, then you are receiving what you agreed on when you took the job. If you are offered something from an outside contractor to “help” you make your mind up about something which would affect the company you worked for, then you would be abusing your position within your company. Paul stood fast on the gospel. If he received something for his preaching, then others could claim that they had an influence on his doctrine, whether it was true or not. Others are always evaluating our actions and we are asked to be upright in our dealings with those we come in contact with. This is an expectation of the follower of Christ.
Lord, there are principles which I believe – in my faith, in my morals, in my politics, and in other aspects of my life as well. They are what define me when others look at me. Help me to not be perceived as one who would compromise my principles, but to stand fast on them regardless of anything that challenges me in them. Above all, may this be true for my faith in Christ and in the teaching of Your word. Help me Lord to never compromise the doctrine which establishes me as Your servant. Amen.