In 1 Corinthians 9 the Apostle Paul describes in various ways how those who work in the ministry of the gospel have the right to share in the blessings of the gospel.
Paul uses examples of other apostles who ministered among the Corinthians and brought their wives and lived and ate in the Corinthians’ homes (vs. 5-6). He asked what soldier pays his own expenses (vs. 7). He pointed out how farmers and shepherds have the right to eat from their own produce (vs. 7). Even the law of Moses said not to muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain (vs. 9, Deuteronomy 25:4).
These examples supported Paul’s contention that he and other Christian workers had a right to be supported financially by those they served. But Paul, sees loving others and extending God’s grace to them as more important than his rights or privileges as a minister of the gospel.
Real Christian love is always sacrificial, like Christ’s own love. Christians ought never to focus on what is best for themselves, but on what is best for others.
Paul characterized this approach to sharing the gospel with people as finding common ground.
Somebody once said you can never win someone to Jesus whom you don’t first win to yourself. In other words, you must model the message that you’re proclaiming. People must be able to see how the gospel works in your life before they believe it will work for them.
So Paul does that by finding common ground where the people he is sharing the gospel with can relate to him and he to them. For Paul, sharing the gospel effectively with others means you must identify with the people you are sharing the gospel with and they must be able to identify with you
And Paul considers it his responsibility to find the common ground with them, not them with him!
So the point of Paul’s teaching is not that ministers of the gospel should not be paid (in fact, he proves they should be paid), but that effectively preaching and teaching the gospel in a way that relates to people is the most important thing.
“When I first came to you, dear brothers and sisters,[a] I didn’t use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God’s secret plan.For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified. I came to you in weakness—timid and trembling. And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit. I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:1-5, NLT)