Running to win!
Scripture reading for July 17th: 1st Corinthians 9
Some people at Corinth were questioning the methods of Paul and Barnabas as apostles of Christ. Paul was trying to help them understand how in his freedom in Christ, he sought to serve all men in order to reach them with the Gospel. He and Barnabas certainly had their ‘rights’ to earn a living from preaching the Gospel. Those that were helped or converted should give support to those who minister. “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.” (Deuteronomy 25:4; 1st Corinthians 9:9)
But Paul chose to limit his freedoms and rights so as not to hinder the Gospel message. “But we did not use this right. On the contrary, we put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ.” (1st Corinthians 9:12) Paul preached the gospel voluntarily because of his calling from Christ. He wanted to offer it free of charge instead of receiving support. “Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. . . . I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.” (1st Corinthians 9:22-23) God would repay him and the souls saved would be his reward!
Paul likened his life as a missionary to a man running in a race. “Do you know that in a race all the runners urn, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize!” (1st Corinthians 9:24) The prize for Paul was a crown of life that would last forever! He would run the race of faithful preaching to win the ultimate prize! Are you running to win in your race?