In his letter to the Corinthian church, the Apostle Paul responds to matters about which they wrote to him. 1 Cor 7:1
Paul says “Do we not have the right to eat and drink? Do we not have the right to take along a believing wife, as do other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas?” 1 Cor 9:4-5.
Paul makes it clear that believers are not bound by custom or religious law, but are free in Christ to partake in these matters.
He goes on to add that as a servant of the Lord he has the right to claim a wage from those he serves. He says, “If we have sown spiritual things among you, is it too much if we reap material things from you? If others share in this rightful claim on you, do not we even more?” 1 Cor 9: 11-12
Paul makes it very clear that as a believer you have rights. The rights to take another believer as your spouse, the right to drink and eat freely, the right to receive wages for your work in ministry.
But with these rights Paul cautions believers, “But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak” 1 Cor 8:9
In other words, be careful that what you partake in doesn’t lead someone else into temptation, or unnecessarily offends them, or gives them the wrong perception of your freedom in Christ. By the way you conduct yourself socially, are you being a stumbling block to others?
Even though Paul knows he is free in Christ and has rights, he goes on to say, “Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything rather that put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ” 1 Cor 9-12
Paul went to great lengths to ensure that the way he conducted himself and lived his life did not allow anything to get in the way of him communicating the gospel effectively to others.
Paul said again, “I have made no use of any of these rights, nor am I writing these things to secure any such provision” 1 Cor 9:15
Paul’s was much more concerned about his ministry to others than he was about how they treated him or about his rights as a minister.
How could the apostle Paul do this? How did he keep his influence going in the right direction? How could he care more about others than how they treated him?…
By having a ministry mindset.
Do you have a ministry mindset as you go about your daily life? As a believer in the 21st century, we need to take a lesson out of Paul’s letter to the Corinthian church, we must learn to let go of our rights for the sake of ministry.
Today God is wanting you to realise your freedom in Christ and the rights you have as a believer, but he wants you to care more about how you minister to people than you do about how they treat you. Can you imagine how this ministry mindset would radically transform your witness if it became a lifestyle priority for you?
Think of someone who has recently treated you badly. Ask God how he wants to use you in that person’s life. Now take your first step in obedience to him.
Witnessing Lifestyle Priority #9: Caring more about how I minister to others than about how they treat me