! Corinthians 9:1-12
9 Am I not as free as anyone else? Am I not an apostle? Haven’t I seen Jesus our Lord with my own eyes? Isn’t it because of my work that you belong to the Lord?2 Even if others think I am not an apostle, I certainly am to you. You yourselves are proof that I am the Lord’s apostle.
3 This is my answer to those who question my authority. 4 Don’t we have the right to live in your homes and share your meals? 5 Don’t we have the right to bring a Christian wife with us as the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers do, and as Peter does? 6 Or is it only Barnabas and I who have to work to support ourselves?
7 What soldier has to pay his own expenses? What farmer plants a vineyard and doesn’t have the right to eat some of its fruit? What shepherd cares for a flock of sheep and isn’t allowed to drink some of the milk? 8 Am I expressing merely a human opinion, or does the law say the same thing? 9 For the law of Moses says, “You must not muzzle an ox to keep it from eating as it treads out the grain.” Was God thinking only about oxen when he said this? 10 Wasn’t he actually speaking to us? Yes, it was written for us, so that the one who plows and the one who threshes the grain might both expect a share of the harvest.
11 Since we have planted spiritual seed among you, aren’t we entitled to a harvest of physical food and drink? 12 If you support others who preach to you, shouldn’t we have an even greater right to be supported? But we have never used this right. We would rather put up with anything than be an obstacle to the Good News about Christ.
I guess it is okay to complain when things are not right. Paul certainly complains about the unfair treatment he receives, but then says he has never asserted his rights in that area. So then why complain? There must be a spiritual principle here.
One principle may be that it is okay to expect support when in the ministry. But that seems obvious. Maybe it’s Paul being assertive and saying “don’t take me for granted.” Maybe it’s more that Paul is concerned about their self-focused lifestyles and their losing sight of the principle of generosity That seems more to the point.