TENT MAKING MINISTRY - A MODEL TO FOLLOW
Tuesday, 8 May 2018
1 Corinthians 9 : 1-15
(1Co 9:15)- But I have used none of these things, nor have I written these things that it should be done so to me; for it would be better for me to die than that anyone should make my boasting void.
Paul's letter to the Corinthian church was really a litmus test for its readers as well as for its writer. We see Paul dealing with a lot of vital issues that plagued the church (that had come from the Gentile faith) which Paul was instrumental in establishing. While writing to them, he has to really examine his motives and intentions openly. This in turn revealed the real personality of Paul, plainly to them who questioned him about his authority and rights. It was a tough thing for Apostle Paul to do so, because it could cause another allegation against him regarding self-exaltation of his own authority and rights. But even at this risk, he opted to write it for the good of all in those days as well as the days to follow.
In today’s reading we have two issues simultaneously dealt by Paul, namely- one regarding his own Apostleship and secondly, his rights as an apostle of Jesus Christ. Both has been defended by him in order to draw lines of discipline in the church. First he defended his Apostleship by pointing towards the outcome of his own work. Because Jesus said in Matt. 7:20: “Therefore by their fruits you will know them.” So this very principle is used by Paul in proving his calling as an Apostle along with other credentials like seeing Jesus Christ etc.
The second argument primarily was regarding his rights as an Apostle. He writes it explicitly not for any demand from his side but to lay the foundation for the future and for others—because he himself was not using any of these rightful privileges as an apostle. Instead he worked with his own hand in order to meet his need as well as those with him. He was very earnest in denying any of these privileges in order that he would be useful to the utmost. In many cases practically this was a proper model for reaching out to the unreached because in the initial stages no one really knows the value of the blessings he or she receives by the Gospel. Only later one comes to know about it. But by then an apostle would have moved from that particular location to another in search of a new field. It is inevitable that he had to adopt such practices so that his movements to other places were uninterrupted due to the lack of funds. What a good model to follow!
Even in today’s mission circle this model of 'Tent-making Ministry' is gaining more ground due to the flexibility it allows and the freedom that comes along with it. This model is of much relief to the sending church and they will be able to use this vital fund in many other areas to developing the field. It also brings in much appreciation in front of the new people, because they see a true man who works hard to fund himself and others. These types of people should be considered with double honour by others who are the benefactors of their blessings. Instead today the reverse happens as it was in those days. This led Paul to write this letter which addresses this matter vividly. Let us today understand clearly how the word of God gives clarity regarding our approach towards His servants and how the servants of God have to consider themselves.
Prayer: Abba Father, please send us more labourers like Paul in order to finish the task that is lying ahead of us. In Jesus name. Amen.
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