1 Corinthians 9:1-15
Having just finished a section where he talks about refraining from meat sacrificed to idols for the sake of the broader community, Paul launches into a a section where he commits a preaching “no-no:” he uses his own life as an example. We’re told in our preaching training “Never make yourself the hero of your own story,” and it’s true. But Paul does it here because he’s building a case. Oh, and he’s the Apostle Paul, so I guess he can get away with a “no-no” or two. 🙂
This entire passage is an example of Paul laying down his rights and freedoms as an Apostle in order to reach the people in Corinth with the Gospel. He has laid down most all of his rights as an apostle while among them, so they might be led to Jesus, not himself.
Paul practices what he preaches here. The best way to reach the most people in Corinth was evidently not to come to town guns blazing, conquering all in the name of Jesus. Rather, he came in weakness, not because he had to or because of any lack of authority or power, but because it was the best way to spread the Gospel.
Sometimes I wonder what that might mean for us these days. What would it mean for us as clergy to think way on outside the boc?