Lay it Aside

In 1 Corinthians 9 Paul was talking about laying aside the rights he had as an apostle to be able to enjoy the fruit of his labor in the form of material items.  There were those who had considered Paul to be “illegitimate” because he was not among those who were being financially supported by the church. But Paul had founded this church and he and Barnabas traveled the world full time to teach and preach the gospel, so he should have had the right to have been supported financially by the church and chose not to. Paul reminded them that under the old law those who served as priests ate from the sacrifices brought to the temple because they did not have an inheritance of their own. Instead, Paul and Barnabas were traveling and working for their own financial expenses to not burden the churches, or hinder the gospel, but he wanted them to know that he technically should have the right to material expenses, which were secondary to the spiritual meat he was providing to the church, but he was giving up that right because he felt a stronger pull to run with a different kind of excellence. Instead of living a life enjoying the benefits he was entitled to, he said that instead he had made himself a slave to the gospel in the hopes that he might win more people to Christ. What I really pull out of this is that although we do have certain benefits and rights to blessing, we should live our lives with an excellence of serving and working so that more can be accomplished. Paul talks about the fact that running with this kind of excellence is a spiritual discipline that keeps us from becoming prideful and it keeps our character in check. Our focus should not be about what blessings or rights are due to us, but what can we give or give up for the greater good of the gospel, and what rights can we sacrifice to make sure the gospel is the priority. We might have the right to an apology, but lay it aside. We might have the right to be vindicated in a situation, but lay it aside. These are the disciplines that make us excellent and shine a light on the gospel.

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