The Easy Life of a Minister
For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! 1 Corinthians 9:16
I have a good friend who is a pastor, and before he moved away, we spent a lot of time discussing faith and ministry. I remember thinking that he had it easy. He served God as his occupation. He was paid to follow Christ. At the time, I had some sober time, but I was struggling with my recovery and was working on a relapse. It’s sounds stupid now, but I can recall thinking that if I was a minister or pastor, it would be easier to follow the straight and narrow, because that would be my daily job.
It was a ridiculous thought, and I should know better. I grew up with a mother and father who’ve served the church for more than 50 years. I know that the life of a pastor and his wife isn’t the easy life. I know how my parents sacrificed themselves to serve the gospel. I know they could have made more money doing something else, but I also know that being obedient to God was more important to them than any financial reward.
This is Paul’s message in today’s passage. In it, he defended the right of the apostles to be paid. Some in Corinth apparently felt that a minister of the gospel shouldn’t accept wages, so Paul corrected them, insisting that the one working for God should be paid just like anyone else. He went on to say however, that he sacrificed his own right to be paid so as not to offend anyone.
It seems odd, looking back, that Paul had to defend his right to make a living. Now, we know him as one of the best-selling authors of all time, but back then, he had to argue for his right simply to make a living. Still, Paul’s life mission was to share the gospel and he was going to do it whether he got paid or not.
This is the life of the minister of the gospel – one of sacrifice for God. Being a professional minister doesn’t mean the good life in a worldly sense. Being obedient to God, however, is always its own reward, finding the life, joy, and purpose for which we were made. If I do this of my own will, I have a reward (1 Corinthians 9:17) . . . I know it wasn’t the easiest option, but I’m grateful that my parents chose the obedient life. Thanks mom and dad!