|1 Corinthians 9:18 |
18 What is my reward then? Truly, that when I preach the gospel, I may offer the gospel of Christ without charge,1 so that I do not abuse my right in the gospel.
1 Jesus agrees with Paul's preaching without charge, saying: Freely you have received (without charge), freely give (without pay), Mat 10:8. And so does Peter: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, 1 Pet 5:2. As has been explained by George Fox, when a true minister of the word of faith brings someone the "living words of truth spoken from the Spirit of God;" the person who receives them is so overjoyed and grateful, their possessions are no longer important to them; they know they are part of the whole Body of Christ, and they are eager to supply, unsolicited gifts, to meet any need they see of the "man speaking the words of God from the Spirit of God," including their least valued treasures — mammon — but the true man of God would never ask. If the minister had needs, he could gratefully receive the totally unsolicited gift of love, included but not limited to money; the true reward is to see Christ manifested in his followers and to love that person as though he is Christ. The true reward is to have their spirits knit together in love. The true reward is to share in the increase of LOVE in the body of Christ.
The apostle said, ‘Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches.’ Gal 6:6. To be taught in the word, is not to be taught what the scriptures say, or someone's opinion of their meaning; but to be taught as the Spirit of God gives appropriate words to the speaker, tailored to the ears and hearts of his listeners. To be taught in the word, is to be taught by someone who, under control of the Holy Spirit, speaks the Word of God, as heard from God, as commanded by God to them to be spoken, at that specific time, to those specific listeners; as is in 1 Cor 2:13, 'this is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom, but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. We would naturally want to share everything we had with someone who was truly teaching us words he was given by God to speak to us. How much more would these unsolicited gifts be offered to those who raised the dead, healed the sick, cast out demons, and preached the Kingdom being near; as did the Apostles of the early church? I certainly would not hesitate to give one my car, all my money, whatever I could possibly live without. And that is exactly how the early Church in Jerusalem was funded:
Nor was there a destitute or needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses proceeded to sell them, and one by one they brought (gave back) the amount received from the sales, and laid it at the feet of the apostles (special messengers). Then distribution was made to every man according to his need. Acts 4:34-35 Notice, this does not say the apostles took the money for their own use.
If someone asks for tithes, asks for contributions, or takes a salary, that someone is a false prophet, covetous, following the way of Balaam, a hireling who doesn't love the sheep and flees when he sees the wolf coming.