I’d rather die than give anyone ammunition to discredit me or impugn my motives. If I proclaim the Message, it’s not to get
something out of it for myself. I’m compelled to do it, and doomed if I don’t! If this was my own idea of just another way to make a living, I’d expect some pay. But since it’s not my idea but something solemnly entrusted to me, why would I expect to get paid? So am I getting anything out of it? Yes, as a matter of fact: the pleasure of proclaiming the Message at no cost to you. You don’t even have to pay my expenses! 1 Corinthians 9:16-18
What a great passage from the Apostle Paul about preaching the gospel & integrity with finances. He holds it as such a privilege to preach, that he doesn’t want to give anyone ammunition to discredit him or impugn his motives. This is such an important issue in 2015 where everyone is so cynical & judgemental of preachers. Not only does your sermon get judged on a Sunday when everyone goes home and has roast preacher for lunch, people can now listen to a podcast or a youtube clip or read a printed copy and they can pull it to bits years after you preached it! That’s one reason why I always try to preach from the scriptures & always be careful where I share my personal opinions. And when it comes to money, there has to be transparency, accountability & integrity in all that you say & do. We must be grateful for what blessings we do receive. And to never manipulate people for money, but to teach the truth of scripture in a balanced way when it comes to giving. Paul says a worker is worth their wages, so receiving money for preaching is ok, but he chose to be a tentmaker, what a great example of humility & selflessness.
We need to regularly check our motives for what we preach. I love what Paul says, “But since it’s not my idea but something solemnly entrusted to me.” When we realise that God has entrusted us to preach his glorious gospel, we ought not to take it lightly. In James 3:1 in the AMP it says, “Not many [of you] should become teachers (self-constituted censors and reprovers of others), my brethren, for you know that we [teachers] will be judged by a higher standard and with greater severity [than other people; thus we assume the greater accountability and the more condemnation].”
How we handle finances will be a test of our character. How we handle praise will be a test of our character. How we handle success or failure will be a test of our character. The good thing is, God shows us grace when we mess up. He is like the potter & we are like the clay, he moulds our heart, he disciplines us, he transforms us to be more like Christ.
Lord, thank you for the example of Paul. Guard my heart, may I be a man of integrity with the preaching you have solemnly entrusted to me. For your glory Lord. In Jesus name. Amen.