Or is it only I and Barnabas who must work for a living? Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its grapes? Who tends a flock and does not drink of the milk? 1 Corinthians 9:6-7

When you read these verses it becomes apparent that Paul and Barnabas were the exception. Paul and Barnabas worked at tent making (Acts 18:3) while they preached the gospel. However it seems “the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Cephas” (v.4-5) did not have secular jobs. It shows us the very individual nature of the call of God.

We know from Acts that the apostles knew the importance of giving their “attention to prayer and the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:3-4). Yet Paul was able to combine tent making with an effective ministry. I’ve noticed when listening to missionaries speak, that there are a variety of ways they gain financial support. God seems to enjoy diversity.

We cannot put God in a box and insist that everyone does ministry the same way. I’ve heard people say that all pastors should be like Paul or that all churches should be like the New Testament church. The problem is that we see so many different leadership styles and models in the New Testament and God used them all. Our focus needs to be on how does God want us to minister to our community in our culture?

Furthermore what is God saying to me? I can’t assume that God’s plan for me is going to be exactly the same as someone else’s. I have to discover how God wants to equip me for the things he has called me to do. I have to find the particular path God wants me to follow.