1 Corinthians 9:1-7
1Co 9:1 Am I not free? Am I not a missionary? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord?
1Co 9:2 If to others I am not a missionary, at least I am to you, because you are the seal of my missions work in the Lord.
1Co 9:3 My defending argument to those who are examining me is this:
1Co 9:4 Don’t we have the right to eat and drink?
1Co 9:5 Don’t we have the right to bring along a Christian wife like the other missionaries, the Lord’s brothers, and Cephas do?
1Co 9:6 Or do Barnabas and I alone have no right to keep from working?
1Co 9:7 Who makes war at their own expense — ever? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat its fruit? Or who shepherds a flock and does not consume the milk from the flock?
unique — so genuine
Paul feels deeply offended to learn that some within the church at Corinth actually question his authority. They – of all people – should be grateful that the Lord sent Paul and other members of his team to share the gospel and plant the church there. Instead, some are suggesting that Paul does not qualify as a missionary because he supported his own ministry by tent making while he was among them! Some even questioned his choice to remain single, since other prominent missionaries had married. But Paul insists that the differences in his choices are actually proof that his role is genuine. He had the right to marry and to be supported in his work, but he chose not to avail himself of that right. His detractors argued that he was unique, thus unqualified. He defended himself by arguing that his uniqueness actually proves his authenticity.
LORD, you have blessed us with a variety of servants who faithfully work among us. Teach us to accept all of them as gifts from you, no matter how different they are from one another.