Spiritual Seed

1 Corinthians 9:11-14

11 If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you? 12 If others have this right of support from you, shouldn’t we have it all the more? But we did not use this right. On the contrary, we put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ. 13 Don’t you know that those who serve in the temple get their food from the temple, and that those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar? 14 In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.

One Child

Someone said, “I want to have many children so that many of them will take care of me when I grow old!” Another person said, “I want to have only one child because many siblings have terrible problems about dividing inheritance.”

Have you ever had problem about division of inheritance among your siblings? Someone cleverly advised, “Do not leave inheritance to your children; they will quarrel with each other.” And another person suggested, “Leave them a lot of debts, and your children will not quarrel about division of inheritance.”

Actually, this problem about division of inheritance was brought to Christ.

Together, let’s try to reflect meditatively on what it narrated in Luke 12:13-15:

13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” 14 Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” 15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”

When the man asked to tell his brother to divide the inheritance with him, Christ preached against greed of all kinds. The man has right for his share of inheritance. He may have been wealthy but still wanted a little bit more wealth from the inheritance. It is also possible that his brother was richer, and since he had right to the inheritance, he just wanted to get his share of the inheritance.

When Christ asked, “Who appointed me a judge or arbiter,” he implied that he respect legal ways. He is the Lord, but he did not impose his authority. Here is another instance also when someone told Christ to do something, but Christ did not do anything about it because it has nothing to do with his mission.

Christ had been focused on the mission purposes that God the Father had given him. And what was the mission purpose of Christ when he came to earth?

Intentionally, Christ declared verbally in John 19:30, 30 “It is finished.”

At his crucifixion, Jesus Christ declared that he accomplished his mission purpose. He completely paid for all requirements for the forgiveness of our sins. When we ask God for the forgiveness of our sins, we practically practice our faith in him. We trust that God forgives us because Christ has totally paid for the penalty of our sins. Jesus Christ was crucified for the forgiveness of our sins.

Through his death on the cross, Christ redeemed us from possible eternal punishment for our sins. Eternal death, eternal torture or hell had been prepared for all sinners, and Christ ransomed us from hell. And so, he becomes our Lord. Such is our personal respond to prove that we have faith in Christ; we accept that our whole being belongs to him. We become his servants; and so, we obey him.

Therefore, we should honestly follow his commands. We believe that his commands are designed for our betterment, and make sure we practically obey him with sincerity of heart. Let’s reflect on what Christ prayed in John 17:15-18:

15My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 

Christ prayed for our protection from the evil one. He also prayed that we are sanctified by the word of God. The term “sanctify” is properly translated as “Consecrated and set apart for holy and sacred purposes.” Do you sense personally your consecration being set apart for holy and sacred purpose in life?

What is your mission purpose? Christ prayed that God sanctifies us with his word. We grow in our faith when obey his word. We practically know that we are sanctified, set apart for his holy purpose when we obey the Lord. The Lord of harvest set apart believers to participate, gather and reap harvest in his kingdom.

1.  Reap

11If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you? 12If others have this right of support from you, shouldn’t we have it all the more? But we did not use this right. On the contrary, we put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ.

When Apostle Paul presented the idea of reaping material harvest from the Corinthians, he suggested that sowing spiritual seeds can produce both spiritual and material harvest. Spiritual harvest may pertain to the reward that God had prepared for us in heaven. Material harvest is the work of the Holy Spirit among believers in the church to be generous toward participants in the mission works.

The Corinthians who reported to Apostle Paul about the division in the church of Corinth should have told him that the Corinthian church had supported Apollos, Cephas and other preachers who came to Corinth. Apostle Paul claimed that his mission team has more rights of support from the Corinthian church.

Nevertheless, Apostle Paul did not use their right for church support. They did not ask the church for support. He may have assumed that the Corinthians were not ready yet to accept their responsibility to support mission workers; he may have sensed that some church attendees could interpret it otherwise.

Or, Paul may have waited for the Holy Spirit to work among the Christians in Corinth to spontaneously offer their financial support to his mission team.

Together, let us reflect on what Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 8:1-5:

1And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us.

The Macedonian churches pertain to Philippians and the Thessalonians churches. They were generous and regularly sent financial support to the mission team of Apostle Paul despite their extreme poverty. In contrast, the Corinthian church was considered as wealthy church. Possibly, most church attendees were wealthy business people, but they were slow to allocate mission support budget.

Think about it. Apostle Paul wrote letters to address church problems. He wrote longer letters to the Corinthians to address their church problem because the church in Corinth had more problems than other churches. In contrast, the Philippian church was the first to support the mission team of Apostle Paul, and they continued to send their support even when he was in Rome.

The letters of Apostle Paul was actually copied and circulated among the other churches, and the Corinthians may have read the letter of Apostle Paul to the Philippians. They may have realized that the believers in Philippi were more generous than them. They may have realized their slowness to support mission.

2.  Realize

13 Don’t you know that those who serve in the temple get their food from the temple, and that those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar? 

Apostle Paul had challenged the church in Corinth in his hope that they may realize their responsibilities eventually. He pointed out that those who serve in the temple get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar get their food from the altar and not somewhere else. What did Apostle Paul imply? As missionary to the Corinthians, Apostle should receive mission support from the church collection because he and his mission team started the church in Corinth, and took care of their spiritual needs until they grew mature spiritually.

Certainly, the Corinthians who personally knew Apostle Paul understood what he was telling them, but church attendees who did not know him, could be still young in their faith so that they doubted his apostleship; they did not realize that they have responsibility to support the mission ministry of Apostle Paul. They did not realize that it is also the will of God to support mission ministries.

Actually, Apostle Paul did not ask the Corinthians to send them financial support. So, what is his point? Why did Apostle Paul still include in his letter the right of ministry workers for mission support if he won’t require them anyway?

Ministry support is church concern. The Lord may have inspired Apostle Paul to write about their right for financial support similar to what the church gave to Apollos and Cephas. Future believers should learn from it. The right of ministry workers for support was a church problem in Corinth and all local churches also.

He mentioned that those who serve in the temple get their food from the temple, and that those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar. He was pertaining to the tithes and offerings of the Israelites given to the Lord.


The Lord said in Numbers 18:21-26, 21 “I give to the Levites all the tithes in Israel as their inheritance in return for the work they do while serving at the tent of meeting. 22 From now on the Israelites must not go near the tent of meeting, or they will bear the consequences of their sin and will die. 23 It is the Levites who are to do the work at the tent of meeting and bear the responsibility for any offenses they commit against it. This is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. They will receive no inheritance among the Israelites. 24 Instead, I give to the Levites as their inheritance the tithes that the Israelites present as an offering to the Lord. That is why I said concerning them: ‘They will have no inheritance among the Israelites.’” 25 The Lord said to Moses, 26 “Speak to the Levites and say to them: ‘When you receive from the Israelites the tithe I give you as your inheritance, you must present a tenth of that tithe as the Lord’s offering.


The Levites served in the temple. They’re assigned to different ministries. While the tithes of the Israelites were allocated to the Levites, the Levites gave also a tenth of the tithes; they gave tithes of what they receive. Here is a rebuke for pastors who do not give the tithes of God. Some pastors don’t give tithes because they claim that what they receive were tithes from the congregation.

The Lord has clearly instructed the Levites to give tithes also, including what they received from the tithes of the Israelites. The practice of giving the tithes of God in the church is based on God’s law about tithes for the Israelites; it is very favorable for believers to realize that the Lord blesses givers of his tithes.

This church does not require anyone to give tithes and offerings. We give the tithes of God as personal practice of faith. Personally, if we accept that the Lord provides for everything, we need we cheerfully give his portion, his tithe. Whatever we receive, we give the tithes of God or ten percent of whatever we receive, why? We realize that God is the source of everything we receive.

3.  Receive

14 In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.

The term “should,” offers option for preachers, if they choose to receive support from the church or they may opt to preach without compensation, love gift or financial support. There are church planters who own family business. Their business can provide more than enough for their need, and they choose not to receive anything from the church. And the Lord blessed them even more.

East Asia

I’ve testified that we only have $300 pocket money for a family of 5 when we went to East Asian missions. This is how we survived missions. My wife worked as English teacher in a local university, and I worked in another school.

Our children gathered empty bottles and sold them. Missionary friends provided other things. And that was how we survived mission with only $300 in our pocket.

In the school where I worked, the husband of the administrator was a local pastor. He arranged university students to hear the gospel. He testified that his wife agreed to administer the school so that he can serve as fulltime pastor. He mentioned that he sensed his calling while reading the Lord’s instruction to Peter in John 21:15-17, 15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”

16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” 17The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.”

The Asian pastor realized the need of his countrymen for spiritual food. He did not worry about finances. His wife is blessed with wisdom as administrator of their school. Short-term missionaries regularly visit their school. Of course, their students and even parents were glad to meet English speaking foreigners.

Many among us have memorized one favorite verse in the Scripture which is what the Lord had declared in Psalm 40:10, 10Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.

To be still is oppose to worry. Faith in God is active when we sense peace to be still. Then, we know that the Lord is God who controls all things in heaven and on earth. We are inspired to praise and trust in him for provision we receive.

The Lord says that we need to be still, and he will be exalted among the nations; he implies missions, internationally or domestically. The Lord initiates mission works among different people groups, and we participate in missions.

Last Sunday we celebrated the resurrection of Christ. The resurrection of Christ happened during the Jewish Passover Festival. The Jewish Passover Festival celebrates the time when the Lord brought out the Israelites from Egypt. Personally, what is your response when we celebrate the resurrection of Christ?

We rejoice for the hope that when Christ returns, he resurrects and takes us into heaven and live wonderfully with God eternally. As personal response, pray that you may discern which ministry Christ prepared for you to participate.

And as we wait for the return of Christ, we store up eternal treasures for ourselves in heaven. Until Christ returns, we are also instructed to proclaim his death and resurrection. This is the reason we celebrate the Lord’s Supper.

We are reminded to proclaim the gospel of Christ to potential believers.

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