Work in the Lord

1 Corinthians 9:1-5

1 Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not the result of my work in the Lord? Even though I may not be an apostle to others, surely I am to you! For you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord. This is my defense to those who sit in judgment on me. Don’t we have the right to food and drink? Don’t we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Cephas?


Do you still remember the first time you were interviewed for a job? Were you anxious? Anxiousness may cause disappointments in job interview, if you’re not prepared to answer random questions. Some experts suggest that when applying for a job, you should also prepare to introduce yourself to interviewers.

When potential employers ask, “Tell me about yourself!” what will you say?

Tell a story about experiences in relation to the job you are applying for. If you were applying for teaching job, talk about your teaching experiences and not experiences in baking, unless you are applying as teacher for baking lessons. Write down your story. Memorize it word for word and recite in front of a mirror; record yourself reciting; watch your own presentation; be aware of time spent. If you’re satisfied of how you present yourself, great! That’s intentional preparation.

Likewise, if we are intentional in sharing how Christ transformed our life to potential believers, we also prepare what we should say, our testimony. Do you have a story to tell how your life is transformed ever since you trusted Christ as your Lord and Savior? Write, memorize and recite your personal experiences. Compare your old behavior and your new life that Christ has transformed.

After Christ returned to heaven, his Apostles were anxious of the Jewish leaders. But after they were filled with the Holy Spirit, they boldly testified about Christ. When Jewish leaders interrogated them, they testified in Acts 5:29-32, 29“We must obey God rather than human beings! 30 The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead—whom you killed by hanging him on a cross. 31 God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might bring Israel to repentance and forgive their sins. 32 We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”

When they were interrogated, the apostles knew that they were in trouble; but they’re not scared despite possible undesirable punishment. The Holy Spirit gave them joyful peace. So, pray and wait until you are covered with power from the Holy Spirit. When you sense peaceful joy, you will sense courage to testify.

Ask yourself, “Have I observed practical evidences of my faith in Christ?” Have you sensed practical evidence of how Christ changed your habit, behavior, attitude, mindset, desires and even future plans or ambitions? Apostle Paul may have been confronted to provide evidence that he was called as Christ’s apostle.

1.  Evidence

1 Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not the result of my work in the Lord? Even though I may not be an apostle to others, surely I am to you! For you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.

The term “apostle” is literally translated as “messenger sent on mission.” Apostle Paul testified that he personally saw Christ; he audibly heard his voice and instruction. The Corinthian believers were results of his work as apostle.

By providing evidence to his apostleship, Apostle Paul warned believers to prepare for possible similar situation. If Apostle Paul had to prove his authority as messenger of Christ, it implies that believers of Christ must be ready also to give practical evidences of personal transformation that the Lord changed in our life.

Personally, prepare to tell practical evidences of transformation in your life.

Apostle Paul pointed out that the Corinthian Christians were results that proved his work in the Lord. Of course, Paul and his mission team preached the gospel of Christ and helped the church in Corinth grew mature spiritually.

There’re transformed lives among the Corinthians as result of their work.

Observe yourselves. Take note seriously of your transformation ever since you accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior. List at least, two or three changes in your behavior, habits, attitude, mindset, desires, even future plans or ambition.

How do you interpret what it declares in 2 Corinthians 5:17? 17If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

Make sure that you really have faith in Christ. Pray for increase of faith, if you doubt. Then, observed practical changes of the way you speak, mindset, habits, behavior, attitude, personality, and even plans or dreams. Do you sense desire to tell others about the changes you personally experienced? Do you sense care for anyone who has not known the grace and love of God?

How do you present yourself when you meet Christ when he returns?

Let’s reflect on what it admonishes us in James 5:7-8, Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. 


Spring has come. Farming is about to commence hopefully in few weeks.

To make sure that they harvest abundantly, farmers will do all necessary procedures; they water and fertilize their plants; they remove weeds and cultivate the soil around the plant; they use insecticides or fungicides if necessary, and patiently expect great harvest. But of course, they should trust that the Lord of harvest will make their plant grow and healthy. Such patience of farmers can practically teach us about waiting patiently for the return of Christ.

How do we apply the principles of farming to our life as believers of Christ?

We should also do all necessary procedures for us to grow spiritually mature. How? We should pray earnestly; we should read the Scripture diligently, and we should also encourage each other as we gather regularly every week.

Spiritually, we should be prepared to share the gospel to potential believers when divine opportunity presents itself. We pray for the Lord of harvest to send workers in his harvest field. Let us seriously meditate on what the Lord Jesus Christ had instructed in Luke 10:2, 2The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.

Christ is the Lord of harvest. He sent out harvesters for souls. He provided also for expenses we need to accomplish our mission purposes. Can you trust strongly that if we obey him, the Lord of harvest would provide for our expenses?

2.  Expense

This is my defense to those who sit in judgment on me. 

Don’t we have the right to food and drink?

Chapter 9 of 1 Corinthians is generally interpreted as biblical rhetoric to justify expenses for ministry works. Ministry expenses of Apostle Paul and his mission team may have been scrutinized. Actually, the Corinthian church did not provide for the ministry expenses of Apostle Paul and his mission team. Paul preferred making tents as supplement support for his ministry team expenses.

Rhetorically, Apostle Paul brought up their right to food and drink; ministry workers should be assisted in their expenses, he implied. Do you believe that the Lord of harvest provides for his harvesters? Let us reflect on 1 Corinthians 9:7.

7Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat its grapes? Who tends a flock and does not drink the milk?

The Lord sustains expenses for ministry. When you plant fruit trees, you want to taste it first, if their fruit is sweet or sour. If you take care of sheep, goat or cattle, you want to gain from your effort. If you serve in the military, you are not required to bring your own military supplies; the government provides for you.


If you want to earn a decent salary while you can also have schooling for free, join the military service. Did you know if there is free schooling for Canadian military personnel who may qualify? Do military personnel sign contract for the length of service they wish to provide for the country. If so, you may enroll and study and prepare for future career while serving in the military. And if in case you decide to quit your service in the military, you’ve got back up career waiting.

There are different departments in the military service that you may wish to apply. You can even apply as chaplain if you are qualified. Career opportunities in the military service offer wide range of choices. Service benefit is also decent.

Mindfully, consider how the government provides for the expenses of its military personnel. If human authorities are responsible enough to take care of the expenses of military service, the God is righteously reliable now and forever.

The Creator of heaven and earth carefully make sure that workers of his kingdom are also well compensated both here on earth and in eternity.

What do you think? Together, let us seriously reflect on what the Lord Jesus declared in Revelation 22:12: 12Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. 

Listen attentively: Christ is coming anytime sooner than expected. When Christ returns, he takes us into heaven. How strong do you believe that? Surely, it is also by faith that we believe the promises of the Lord in the Scripture. The Scripture clearly declares that the Lord rewards us for what we have done.

In basketball, everyone who plays may enjoy it, even the audience enjoys watching the game. At the end of basketball season, someone is awarded for valuable performance, but not everyone who played the game.

In a movie, actors and actresses do their best in acting. When awarding time comes, only few participants are given awards for best acting performances.

In the military, soldiers may or may not go to war, but there are soldiers who receive medals or honor for their sacrifices. Others get promotion in ranks.

Likewise, the Lord called us to be involved in his work. He has prepared rewards for participants. No Christian is exempted. What do you think?

3.  Exempt

Don’t we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Cephas?

Previously, Apostle Paul encouraged the unmarried individuals and the widows to stay unmarried just like him. His statement has confused interpreters to suggest that Apostle Paul was never married. But Paul did not say that he was never married; he just preferred to stay unmarried. The term “unmarried” can be interpreted as divorced or separated to his wife or his wife may have died.

Did Apostle Paul not imply that he was married as do the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Cephas? Did he intentionally preclude arguments about his marital status? Apostle Paul was not very particular of what others might think about his marital status, whether he was married or unmarried.

Apostle Paul was concerned more of shutting down arguments that may possibly arise about church financial support for expenses of ministry workers. As responsible husband, Apostle Paul and his mission team brought with them their families, spouses and possibly their children also. What did he imply?

Ministry calling for married people involves both husband and wife. When God calls a married man to the mission field, his wife is also called to participate. The wife is not exempted from ministry; she is not exempted from expenses also.

Do you have any idea if the Scripture has elaborated role of pastor’s wife? Pastors avoid discussing this concern because it’s obviously self-serving.

Some denominations elect pastor’s wife as deaconess or lady deacons.

Ministry workers and their family members have practical expenses to sustain. Pastors or ordinary believers, all Christians are called to participate in the work of the Lord. Let’s seriously ponder upon Ephesians 4:11-13, 11Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

Before involvement in the work of the Lord, believers should be equipped.

Modern apostles are commonly sent out as missionaries. Missionaries are considered as frontier workers and church planters, and they start ministry works.

Modern prophets are commonly called preachers or messengers of God. Evangelists are focused in sharing the gospel of Christ to potential believers.

Pastors are responsible for the spiritual needs of the congregation, and teachers may pertain to seminary professors or instructors of biblical doctrines and beliefs.

Ministry leaders equip us for the work of service, why? As we participate in the ministry, we grow spiritually until we attain the fullness of Christ-like behavior.

Let us reflect on Ephesians 2:8-10, For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

As we practice our spiritual gift, we practice faith; we carry out our calling. The most wonderful experience we can have as Christian it follow the Lord. You may explore different career opportunities; but there is good work that the Lord prepared in advance and designed for you to have wonderful Christian life.

Abraham and Lot

Believers who trust Christ by faith are called descendants of Abraham. Let us learn from Abraham how we practice faith in God. Abraham told his nephew Lot in Genesis 13:9-10, 9“If you go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, I’ll go to the left.” 10Lot looked around and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan toward Zoar was well watered, like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt. This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.

The grass was greener and well watered near Sodom. Lot chose to settle next to Sodom when he saw an opportunity for prosperity. Later, Sodom was destroyed. In comparison, Abraham waited upon the Lord in the Promised Land.

Naturally, we are attracted to greener pasture, but we remember that this world will be destroyed on Judgment Day. But by faith in Christ, we trust that the Lord will bring us into heaven. And as we wait for the return of Christ to be rewarded, we should actively participate in the work of the Lord.

Pray for stronger faith and empowerment and inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

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