7 Who ever goes to war at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its fruit? Or who tends a flock and does not drink of the milk of the flock?
8 Do I say these things as a mere man? Or does not the law say the same also?
9 For it is written in the law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain.” Is it oxen God is concerned about?
10 Or does He say it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written, that he who plows should plow in hope, and he who threshes in hope should be partaker of his hope.
11 If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things?
The three illustrations [v.7] he draws have points of resemblance to the work of a missionary. As the soldier makes war with the foe, so the servant of God wages war against evil. As the husbandman plants a vineyard, so the servant of God plants a church. As the shepherd tends the flock, so a pastor sees to the spiritual welfare of those under his charge. Accordingly, as the soldier, the planter, the shepherd, all expect maintenance as the results of their labors, so he who ministers the Word has a right to expect to be maintained in view of the service he renders. — Vine, page 62.
as a mere man (v.8) = in accordance with man’s opinion
treads (v.9) — separating the grain from the husk, either by having the ox step on it or having it drag a threshing machine over it
The quote in verse 9 is from Deuteronomy 25:4.
for our sakes (v.10) — in this case, the Old Testament law regarding physical things has a spiritual application
material (v.11) — things needed for the physical body