This is my defense to those who sit in judgment on me. Don’t we have the right to food and drink? Don’t we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Cephas? Or is it only I and Barnabas who lack the right to not work for a living?
Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat its grapes? Who tends a flock and does not drink the milk? Do I say this merely on human authority? Doesn’t the Law say the same thing? For it is written in the Law of Moses: “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.” Is it about oxen that God is concerned? Surely he says this for us, doesn’t he? Yes, this was written for us, because whoever plows and threshes should be able to do so in the hope of sharing in the harvest. If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you? If others have this right of support from you, shouldn’t we have it all the more?
But we did not use this right. On the contrary, we put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ.
Don’t you know that those who serve in the temple get their food from the temple, and that those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar? In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.
But I have not used any of these rights. And I am not writing this in the hope that you will do such things for me, for I would rather die than allow anyone to deprive me of this boast. For when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, since I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! If I preach voluntarily, I have a reward; if not voluntarily, I am simply discharging the trust committed to me. What then is my reward? Just this: that in preaching the gospel I may offer it free of charge, and so not make full use of my rights as a preacher of the gospel.
Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people 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.
- 1 Corinthians 9:3-23
Would you put up with ANYTHING, rather than hinder the Gospel of Christ?
Do you receive your living from the GOSPEL?
Do you BOAST when you preach the Gospel?
Do you PREACH the GOSPEL?
Are you a slave to everyone, so that you may win SOULS?
Have you become all things to all people, that by all possible means you might SAVE some?
Do you LIVE for the sake of the Gospel?
Have you shared in its BLESSINGS?
As I read the Scripture above, the underlined parts specifically stood out to me. There were plenty of questions I had to ask myself while reading the passage, questions that made me reflect on my current mindset while doing ministry. It's been a hard adjustment for me to serve as a worship leader, when I've been so entirely focused on working in the music industry for the past 6 years. At some point, I just figured my plans of working in the music business would come together.... and maybe they will. But, it's amazing how my dreams of the future have completely blinded me of where God is wanting to use me NOW.
I work in a church
I serve in a church
I minister in a church
I proclaim God's love in a church
I lead a Bible study in a church
I sing songs in a church
I play guitar in a church
I lead rehearsals in a church
I go to meetings in a church
I volunteer in a church
I pray in a church
I study God's word in a church
But.... is my heart in the church? Is my soul in the church? Is my dedication to the church?
Just because in the past my heart never felt like I was being called to be a worship leader, does that mean that my current position as a worship leader means any less? Does it mean that I should continue to feel like I am behind schedule for not having found a job in the music industry yet? Why is it that God has clearly placed me in this position for a reason, to lead His people into WORSHIP.... and yet I continue to worship my plans, my future, my dreams. Will it ever truly hit me that my plans are meaningless? When will I fully surrender my future to Him? Will a time come when my dreams are the same as His dreams.... or will they always be a distraction to where my heart and mind should be?
I'm constantly battling my position as the worship leader. It's sad, isn't it? It's wracked me with guilt fairly consistently. Why has God called me to be a leader in the church, especially when I'm (obviously) struggling with spiritual issues? And even more so, why has God created me as a person who dreams big dreams and loves traveling & adventures, if He is calling me to stay in one place, the same place I've been for the past 24 years? Will there EVER be a time when my dreams and passions are actually being put into use? Will they ever line up with God's plan?
[Insert some typical-Christian comment about how our plans should be God's plans, and that my dreams should be His dreams, and that my passions should be fueled by desire for more of Him.]
I've heard it all before. You can sit there and tell me that I just need to make my plans be God's plans. I'll most likely not be encouraged by your words, and it might even push me further in the wrong direction, because it's NOT THAT EASY. I'm human. If I were anything other than human, I'd love to flip the switch in my brain that automatically aligns my dreams with God's. Wouldn't that be nice?
I'm working through it..... I really am. I think about it nearly every day. God is certainly calling out to me, urging me to come closer to Him. As frustrating and exhausting this process is, I love that I am feeling Him working on my heart. It's humbling and overwhelming, but I know that greater things are yet to come.
So, where do you receive your living...?