The aim of this devotional study is to reflect on the stewardship of your purpose.
1 Corinthians 9:1-23
1 Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are not you my workmanship in the Lord? 2 If to others I am not an apostle, at least I am to you, for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord. 3 This is my defense to those who would examine me.
4 Do we not have the right to eat and drink? … 13 Do you not know that those who are employed in the temple service get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in the sacrificial offerings? 14 In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel. 15 But I have made no use of any of these rights, nor am I writing these things to secure any such provision. For I would rather die than have anyone deprive me of my ground for boasting.
16 For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! 17 For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward, but if not of my own will, I am still entrusted with a stewardship.
18 What then is my reward? That in my preaching I may present the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel. 19 For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them.
20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. 21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.
Observations and reflections
Note 1:In this chapter defends apostleship, and his right of authority over the churches in Corinth.
- Summarize these segments of the Text in your own words to make the argument(s) plain:
- Verses 1-3
- Verses 4-15
- Verses 16-17
- Verses 18-19
- Verses 20-23
- In the center of his argument Paul writes that the preaching of the Gospel “is laid upon me… I am still entrusted with a stewardship.” [v16-17]
- When was it “laid up him” or “entrusted to him”? [hint: Acts 9, esp verses 16-17]
- Why would he say “woe is me if I preach not the gospel”? Who does he fear, and why? And what “reward’ does he look forward to? [hint: what Day does he refer to…? And why?]
- So from these verses, what do we learn about Paul’s view of his Apostleship – in relation to the church and in relation to the Lord?
- How did this view of Paul’s Apostleship influence his relationship to the churches? [hint: this chapter reveals a lot of his character and approach to ministry]
Paul was called to be an apostle (“messenger”) to the non-Jews (“Gentiles”) – he was sent to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to them. (Romans 1:1; 1 Corinthians 1:1, 15:9). He viewed this mandate and grace as an entrustment to him – to steward and to be found faithful when the Lord called him to account on the Day of Judgment. This gave him tremendous confidence in his task, knowing the Lord commanded him to do this.
- The following might help you discover your life purpose:
- What has the Lord said to you regarding your life and purpose?
- What has people (church, family, close friends, mentors) said to you, what you should do? [Consider phrases similar to “you are good in this” / “I can see you doing this” / “you should do this”]
- What upsets or excites you most in life?
- What do you dream about [that does not lead to your fame]?
- What legacy would you love to leave behind one day when you die?
- If the Lord were to return now – how would you feel to answer Him regarding the stewardship of your life purpose?
Regarding the stewardship of your life purpose, pray in line with these two Text of and by the Shepherd King: Thank the Lord that He is your Shepherd who leads you in his paths of righteousness, for His Name’s sake (Psalm 23:1-3). And ask him that you may fulfill your purpose in the way David did who only passed away “after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation” (Acts 13:36). Affirm again to God that your life is his, to serve his purpose – whatever He wants.