1 Corinthians 9 v 15 - 23

Doing paid work in a church or in any Christian context can be problematical, as work, gifts and time given freely once is now salaried, so helping in the church after one has fulfilled paid duties elsewhere is generally no longer an option. I have struggled with this and reconciled it by the thought that Fi gives her free time to church work and by getting involved with supporting people and charities outside of Bearfield.

Paul similarly was glad to give his time freely and we can see here his concept of his ministry:

1. He regarded it as a privilege. Paul, perhaps more than any other Apostle, recognised that Jesus had chosen him against all the odds to do this great work.

2. He regarded it as a duty. The work had chosen him, rather than he choosing the work.

3. Although he took no payment, Paul knew that he received a great reward each day. The real reward of any task is not the money received, but the satisfaction of a job well done.

4. Paul's goal was to become all things to all men. He sought to get alongside others and to hear their point of view. My Dad was always good at doing that, he had the principle that everyone was interested in something. It was just finding out what that something was and being interested in learning about it from that person.

I don't like the term 'friendship evangelism' with its connotation that the only reason for getting to know someone is to tell them the Gospel and if they reject it to ditch that person and to move on to someone else. Each person is made in God's image and deserve our attention, time and love. There may have only been one Samaritan return to Jesus to say ''thank you'' out of the ten He healed, but Jesus brought healing to all of them. In His parable, the Sower still scattered seed on ground that was not going to enable the seed to thrive.

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