“At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 16: 11)
The Basket Case Chronicles #94
“If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ” (1 Cor. 9:11-12).
So the principle is plainly stated. Those who sow into the ground of the people’s spiritual lives should be able to expect receiving financial support for their labors in return. Paul asks “is it a great thing?”—meaning that it shouldn’t be considered a big deal when it happens. It should be taken as part of the ordinary course of events. Paul teaches here that a spiritual investment in a spiritual ministry ought to have a carnal return. The word he uses is sarkika – fleshly.
If others exercise this claim over the Corinthians (as other teachers were apparently doing), Paul wonders why he and his companions do not have even more of a claim. This is the way it goes. Those who have a deeper claim along with a deeper understanding forgo the claim. Those with a legitimate claim along with a more superficial understanding demand their payment—here’s the verse, what’s the problem?
Paul goes on to point out that the reason he was not being paid at the same levels as those with a lesser claim was because he knew that there was a deeper right than being right. There was a more important point than the point of the pen signing the paycheck. Paul knew that a minister can receive something that is his due, and receive it in such a way as to hinder the work he was appointed to do. Rather than do that, Paul says that he would put up with all kinds of indignities and insults rather than create (by means of a legitimate demand) a problem for the progress of the gospel. He is referring to the kind of problem that arises in the minds of those you will never have a chance to explain it to.
Would it be a sin for a minister to take a hefty pay raise he just got and buy a hot little red convertible sports car—his sarki-car—and then have his wife dye her hair a white kind of platinum, and then drive around the church parking lot with the top down? Is that a sin? The Bible says nothing about it being a sin one way or the other, but it would sure be stupid. Would it get in the way of the gospel? To ask the question is to answer it.