Friday, 12 September 2014
But I have used none of these things, nor have I written these things that it should be done so to me; for it would be better for me to die than that anyone should make my boasting void. 1 Corinthians 9:15
For the past 14 verses, Paul has clearly and methodically defended his apostleship and then his right to compensation for the conducting of the duties of that office. This right was one granted even by the Lord Himself. However, he now introduces a new direction concerning this by stating “but.” In contradistinction to what he has clearly laid out, he says “I have used none of these things.” This is not in defiance of the Lord, but in support of the cause of the Lord’s church.
All of the rights and privileges that should be associated with the exercise of his office have been turned down by him. He will explain this directly in this verse and for the next three verses, and then he will divide that explanation into two separate reasons –
1) His serving of men to impress upon them the gospel of Christ (verses 19-23).
2) His desire to run the race and receive the prize set before him (verses 24-27).
In order to lay the foundation for those things, he continues with his thoughts by saying, “nor have I written these things that it should be done so to me.” In other words, it is as if he were saying, “Though I am entitled to these benefits and as of yet have not received them, this letter is not to get you to recognize this and correct it.” Instead, his words are twofold. First, that they recognize his apostleship as valid (which he has done). Secondly, to understand why he has not accepted the rights that go along with the position and why he will continue to not accept those privileges.
And to show the absolute determination concerning his resolve in this matter, he finishes the verse with, “for it would be better for me to die than that anyone should make my boasting void.” To him, the impartation of the gospel was the most important aspect of his life. He had been called out of darkness and into light directly by the Lord. He had received the highest measure of God’s grace and he felt that to accept payment for such a wondrous gift would be worse than death. And if his life was sharing the gospel, then death would mean he could no longer share the gospel, something he earnestly desired to do. It is the strongest assertion possible that his motives were focused only on the sharing of what he had been bestowed.
Life application: People do certain things because they love to do them. We will pay large amounts of money to go mountain skiing, adventuring in the African safari, or go on an ocean cruise. Who would expect to be paid for doing such things? Paul’s passion was sharing the gospel and so he was willing to share it without payment. And each person who truly loves Christ should likewise feel the desire and hunger to help in some way in this endeavor. Local missionary work, helping keep up the church, or even just carrying around tracts to hand out after dinner at a restaurant are ways to spread the message. What value is Christ to you? Are you showing it to others in self-sacrificing ways?
Lord God, I know that I could never do enough to merit the great grace which has been bestowed upon me through the work of Jesus. And yet, I have to admit that I fail daily to even try. I pass by people who don’t know about Him and don’t take the time to share the good news. I rush out of church without thinking that maybe I could help with some small task. I spend a lot of time watching TV or silly videos, but I don’t pursue You by reading Your word. Help me to change this attitude in my life and to draw closer to You while imparting my love for You to others. Amen.