Praise the Lord!
“What soldier has to pay his own expenses? What farmer plants a vineyard and doesn’t have the right to eat some of its fruit? What shepherd cares for a flock of sheep and isn’t allowed to drink some of the milk? Am I expressing merely a human opinion, or does the law say the same thing?” 1 Corinthian 9:7-8
Here we see Paul’s real heart: paid or not paid, it did not matter to him. What mattered was the work of the gospel. Was it more effective for the gospel if Paul should receive support? Then he would receive it. Was it more effective for the gospel if Paul should work to support himself? Then he would do that. What mattered was that the gospel would in no way be hindered. If Paul was willing to deny himself such an important right, for the good of the gospel and the Corinthian Christians, then should not also the Corinthian Christians deny their “right” to eat meat sacrificed to idols, for the same good?
No soldier has to provide his own rations. Why should the soldier of Christ have to do so? The man who plants a vineyard shares in the fruits. Why should the man who plants churches not do so? The shepherd of the flock gets his food from the flock. Why should not the Christian pastor do likewise? Even scripture says that the ox who works the threshing machine is not to be muzzled but is to be allowed to eat of the grain (Deuteronomy 25:4). The church needs to take care of God’s servant. If the church doesn’t take care, God will. The problem with the Corinthian Christians was they refused to support Paul, and thought less of him because he did not receive it.