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Free isn’t Always Free

16 Sep

In the closing chapters of his letter to the Corinthians, Paul talks about the other “apostles” (not the 12) that were going around at that time.  The church was comparing Paul with them.  Usually, it was not in a good way.

Paul was a man who understood his weaknesses.  He admitted that he wasn’t a trained speaker like some of these “super-apostles.”

He now talks about another point of comparison.

Was it a sin for me to lower myself in order to elevate you by preaching the gospel of God to you free of charge?
2 Corinthians 11:7

The word, sin, does not always mean something evil.  In this case, it simply means to miss the mark or make a mistake.

Paul asks them; was I wrong to bless you by preaching the Gospel to you without asking for your support.  According to some, it was because Paul wasn’t an apostle, and so had no right for support.

Paul was willing to humble himself.  By doing this he was able to bring the Corinthian church to a higher level in Christ as a result of his preaching.  But was it really free of charge?

I robbed other churches by receiving support from them so as to serve you.  And when I was with you and needed something, I was not a burden to anyone, for the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied what I needed.  I have kept myself from being a burden to you in any way, and will continue to do so.  As surely as the truth of Christ is in me, nobody in the regions of Achaia will stop this boasting of mine.
2 Corinthians 11:8-10

The simple fact is that support for the ministry has to come from somewhere.  It could come from the minister taking a second or third job.  It could come, as in this case, from other supporting churches.

As in all things, God is our ultimate source.  But He uses people to supply our needs.  It doesn’t always have to come from those being ministered to.

That’s why Paul said that he “robbed” other churches.  No, he didn’t take their money at sword point.  It was because they were giving him money with no direct service in return.  Of course, they received God’s blessing for their faithfulness.

This in itself proved that those accusers were wrong.  They were trying to show that Paul had no right to support.  All the while there were churches around the region that not only recognized the Apostle’s gifting but were willing to support it financially.

Why?  Because I do not love you?  God knows I do!  And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about.
2 Corinthians 11:11-12

God has a way of exalting his faithful servants.  No one even knows the names of these other preachers.  But, because of his willingness to serve, Paul was honored in God’s kingdom.

Question: What is your area of service to God?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2020 in God's Provision, Ministry, Missions, The Church

 

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