Summary: Some people have turned ministry into a cash cow. Some people have just fleeced the sheep. Some people have completely overcompensated themselves, and they have found a great way to work the system.

I’m excited about finishing 1 Corinthians with you. God willing, we’ll discuss divorce, singleness, the resurrection, idolatry, spiritual gifts, tongues, love, and money in the weeks to come as we move line by line, sentence by sentence through this New Testament letter. Remember, every word matters.

"Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are not you my workmanship in the Lord? 2 If to others I am not an apostle, at least I am to you, for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.

3 This is my defense to those who would examine me. 4 Do we not have the right to eat and drink? 5 Do we not have the right to take along a believing wife, as do the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas? 6 Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working for a living? 7 Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard without eating any of its fruit? Or who tends a flock without getting some of the milk?

8 Do I say these things on human authority? Does not the Law say the same? 9 For it is written in the Law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain.” Is it for oxen that God is concerned? 10 Does he not speak entirely for our sake? It was written for our sake, because the plowman should plow in hope and the thresher thresh in hope of sharing in the crop. 11 If we have sown spiritual things among you, is it too much if we reap material things from you? 12 If others share this rightful claim on you, do not we even more?

Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ. 13 Do you not know that those who are employed in the temple service get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in the sacrificial offerings? 14 In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel.

15 But I have made no use of any of these rights, nor am I writing these things to secure any such provision. For I would rather die than have anyone deprive me of my ground for boasting. 16 For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! 17 For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward, but if not of my own will, I am still entrusted with a stewardship. 18 What then is my reward? That in my preaching I may present the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel” (1 Corinthians 9:1-18).

James Meredith was born is Mississippi on June 25, 1933. He served in the United States Air Force from 1951 to 1960 immediately after graduating high school. After watching President John Kennedy’s inaugural address, he decided to apply to the University of Mississippi. That a young man would apply to college would normally not be a big deal. Only it was a big deal for James Meredith for three reasons:

1. It was the early 1960’s.

2. It was Mississippi.

3. And Meredith was black.

Meredith applied to the University of Mississippi in his words, “in the interest of his country, race, family, and himself.” He spoke of his “Divine responsibility.” Upon application, he was denied twice before the Supreme Court granted him the right to attend. Racial segregation was so strong that it took Attorney General Robert Kennedy to broker a deal with Mississippi Governor Ross Barnett to gain Meredith access to the university. His enrollment sparked riots on the Oxford campus, and required enforcement by U.S. Marshals. U.S. Army military police from the 503rd Military Police Battalion were also sent in by President John F. Kennedy. The riots led to a violent clash which left two people dead, including a French journalist, who was found behind a building with a gunshot wound to the back. 160 soldiers were injured, and 28 U.S. Marshals were wounded by gunfire. Many students harassed Meredith during his two semesters on campus. Though the majority of students accepted Meredith's presence, according to first person accounts chronicled in the book The Band Played Dixie, students living in Meredith's dorm bounced basketballs on the floor just above his room through all hours of the night. When Meredith walked into the cafeteria for meals, the students eating would all turn their backs. If Meredith sat at a table with other students, all of whom were white, the students would immediately get up and go to another table Bob Dylan sang about the incident in his song “Oxford Town.” Meredith’s actions are regarded as a pivotal moment in the history of civil rights in the United States. Despite all the adversity, he graduated on August 18, 1963 with a degree in political science. Once more, his grandson, Joseph Meredith graduated from the University of Mississippi as the most outstanding doctoral student in the School of Business Administration in 2002.

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