In today’s text the Apostle Paul builds a solid case that a minister of the Gospel has the right to receive pay for his labor. Yet after building such a strong case Paul states that he would rather die than receive any monetary compensation from the Corinthian Christians for his ministry. We learn much from this chapter. We learn God’s heart for his minsters. And we also learn Paul’s heart toward those he served in Christ.
Paul ends this chapter with an allegory that the Corinthians could really relate to. The Greeks were into athletic events and competitions. As a matter of fact, we get our modern day “Olympics” from the Greeks. So Paul wraps up this section painting a picture for these sports minded Greeks of what a minister of the Gospel should be like…
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (HCSB) Don’t you know that the runners in a stadium all race, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way to win the prize. Now everyone who competes exercises self-control in everything. However, they do it to receive a crown that will fade away, but we a crown that will never fade away. Therefore, I do not run like one who runs aimlessly or box like one beating the air. Instead, I discipline my body and bring it under strict control, so that after preaching to others, I myself will not be disqualified.
What a shame that so many Christians today work so hard for temporary rewards yet often neglect laboring for eternal things. God help us to have our goals and priorities as such as we work for those eternal rewards that never fade away or lose their glory.
And may we all run this race in such a way that none of us will experience the humiliation of disqualification!