Paul has been explaining what true freedom is and what it is to be used for. When talking about money, we have to set the foundation right first, which is that grace is a free gift – it cannot be bought or earned with good works (e.g. giving lots of money to church). We can’t cover our sin with money – the price was God’s own Son. Another thing that needs to be clarified is that Paul is speaking to Christians, to members of the church.
Paul explains that he has every right to be paid by the church – and yet he chose not to in the case of the Corinthian church, as he didn’t want people to think they could bribe him, and the church had only recently been started up. However, Paul does explain four reasons why he has this right, as do the leaders of any church:
1. Common sense
- v.7 – if you work, you should get fairly paid.
- Often, Christians are the slowest to get this – some of us have a superspiritual view of money, thinking it is “unspiritual” or the root of all evil, or thinking that it will make the pastors/elders more spiritual and humble by keeping them poor! But money can and should be used for God’s glory, for blessing others – the church needs it. It is the LOVE of money that is the root of all evil – when you treat money as god.
- Jesus had to be supported financially when he was in full-time ministry.
2. God wants fairness
- v.8 – it is in the law of God.
- God has said many times in Scripture that He cares about fairness. He wants there to be justice for those who work – to be given dignity and rights and treated well.
- Paul uses the metaphor of an ox – good representation of what ministry work looks like: genuinely hard work, carrying a heavy load, extends beyond ordinary working hours, a continuous labour.
3. God’s presence costs cash
- The Church is the presence of God – extending the Church, doing the work of God’s kingdom requires resources, and that requires money.
- The Church is God’s plan and only plan for the world – Jesus gave His life for it, and He will build it.
- We can be tempted to give our money to other ministries that seem more exciting than giving to our church – but the church is God’s mission and the mission we should be on. God has placed us here, to serve THIS city.
- We are not forbidden from giving to other ministries – it’s just that our priority in giving should be our church. We can give on top of what we give to church.
4. Jesus said it
- v.14 – ‘the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel’
- 1 Timothy 5:17-18
- It is a clear, biblical principle, taught by Jesus Himself.
There are four common myths that stop people from giving:
1. “More people = more money”
- i.e. thinking that it will just be covered by others. However, every member is needed. The church cannot afford to have people not giving.
2. “It’s ‘my’ money”
- No it’s not, it’s God’s money. We are stewards – we merely look after God’s money. He can do with it what He likes. Our calling in life is not to accumulate wealth and material possessions, but to steward well.
3. “I can’t afford to give”
- If we have this attitude, will we ever be in a place where we’re able to give?
- It sets a principle of “God gets the leftovers” or “God gets whatever I have spare”.
- The reality is, we can’t afford not to give! We need to learn that God covers us – that He is our security, not money.
- We can’t outgive God!
- We rob God when we don’t give to Him the first and best.
- We need to realign our priorities – where your treasure is, there your heart is also.
- If we learn to steward with little, God can trust us to steward with large amounts.
- Learn to give freely, wholeheartedly and crazily!
4. “CCK just needs to survive”
- i.e. we just need to stop being so ambitious.
- In truth, we need to be way more ambitious – God has much GREATER ambitions for our city, our nation and our world!
- This is a serious matter – we need to reach people with Jesus, we need to be building and growing more and more. And in order to do that, each member needs to play their part.