Don't we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord's brothers and Cephas? Or is it only I and Barnabas who lack the right to not work for a living?
Thoughts for Today:I have heard some people take our passage today out of context and come to the wrong conclusion. Paul was not saying that ministers should refuse offerings from those to whom they minister. For a better understanding, let's take a closer look at both Paul's example and his teaching:
1. Paul and Barnabas voluntarily chose to work and support themselves, rather than receive support from those in Corinth (1 Corinthians 4:11-12, and Acts 18:3).
2. Paul also did this with the believers in Thessalonica (1 Thessalonians 2:9, and 2 Thessalonians 3:7-9).
3. However, on more than one occasion Paul did receive personal support from the believers in Philippi and commended them for their support (Philippians 4:10-19). Therefore, Paul did not always refuse offerings for personal support.
Paul will soon make it very clear that "those who preach the Gospel should receive their living from the Gospel." Paul chose to be an exception to this rule -- but only as far as his personal finances were concerned. He did accept offerings from the Corinthians for the benefit of the ministry. In fact, 1 Corinthians 16:1-4 reveals Paul's commands to these same Corinthians about their duty to give, the purpose of their giving, and the systematic way in which they should do so.
Questions to Ponder:Often times I am amazed at the lack of financial giving. How do you think the church's lights go on, the programs are printed, and salaries are paid? Are you doing your part to support the ministry efforts of your church?