This Day With God


Sow Beside All Waters, July 24

And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.... Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat. Matthew 10:7-10. TDG 214.1

Paul, the great apostle to the Gentiles, learned the trade of a tentmaker. There were higher and lower branches of tentmaking. Paul had learned the higher branches, and he could also work at the common branches, when circumstances demanded.... TDG 214.2

The Greeks on the seacoast were sharp traders. They had educated themselves to sharp practice in deal, and had come to believe that gain was godliness, and that an ability to acquire gain, whether by fair means or foul, was a reason why they should be honored. Paul was acquainted with their practices, and he would not give them a chance to say that he and his fellow laborers preached in order to be supported by the gospel. TDG 214.3

Although it was perfectly right for him to be supported in this way (for “the labourer is worthy of his hire”), yet he saw that if he were [to do so], the influence upon his fellow laborers and those to whom he preached would not be the best. Paul feared that if he lived by preaching the gospel, he might be suspected of selfish motives in [so] doing.... He must show that he was willing to engage in any useful labor. He would not give any an excuse to demerit the work of the gospel by imputing motives of selfishness to those who preached the word. He would not give the sharp Grecians any occasion to hurt the influence of God's servants. TDG 214.4

Paul reasoned, How could he teach the commandments, which required him to love God with heart, and soul, and strength, and mind, and his neighbor as himself, if he gave any one reason to think that he loved himself more than his neighbor or his God, that he followed the practices of the Grecians, trading sharply upon his office for the sake of gain, instead of following the principles of the gospel. How could he lead the people to Christ, if he took all he possibly could from them? Paul decided that he would not give these keen, critical, unscrupulous money traders occasion to suppose that God's servants were working as sharply and following as dishonest methods as they were.—Manuscript 97, July 24, 1899, “The Minister and Physical Work.” TDG 214.5