Saturday, 28 November 2015
I robbed other churches, taking wages from them to minister to you. 2 Corinthians 11:8
In his previous words, Paul noted that he preached the gospel “free of charge” to those at Corinth. However, he now tells them that he didn’t preach without any type of earnings. Rather, he says that “I robbed other churches, taking wages from them to minister to you.” The word he uses for “robbed” is used only here in the New Testament. It means “to plunder” as if in exercising a “right of seizure,” like spoils in war.
This is said then in an ironic rather than a literal fashion. Other churches had helped him out and he used what they had given him as he spread the gospel to live on. By so doing, he was able to preach at Corinth “free of charge.” Whereas they received the message without paying him, others were despoiled at their expense.
This is the purpose of a mission budget. Those who give to a traveling minister do so knowing that they are being “robbed” in order for that minister to freely assist others. Hence, for “taking wages” Paul uses the term opsṓnion. It comes from opson, meaning “meat” and onemoai, meaning “purchase.” It is that which allows one to buy meat (food). From that it came to be considered “ration-money paid to soldiers.”
It is this idea that he had in mind. He was, as it were, a soldier who was in a spiritual battle and his wages were for that purpose. Although it is not sure which churches he is referring to, in his letter to the Philippians he notes that at least they had helped him in his spiritual conquest –
Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only. 16 For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities.” Philippians 4:15, 16
Life application: The laborer is worthy of his wages. Be sure to openly and freely assist those who tirelessly work in their duties to bring the message of Christ, and the explanation of His word, to others. If your income is used to help bring this message to others, does it matter if it is in Kansas or Kuala Lumpur?
Lord God, it sure is wonderful to know that Your precious gospel message is still being carried around the world. From Sarasota, Florida to Shinjuku, Japan; and from Kalamazoo, Michigan to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia it is being preached. Throughout this world of Yours, faithful souls are sharing the good news and teaching Your word. Please send a blessing upon them and let them know that their efforts are not in vain. Thank You for guiding Your word, even to the ends of the world! Amen.