"At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore" (Ps. 16: 11)
The Basket Case Chronicles #97
“For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel! For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me” (1 Cor. 9:16-17).
Jeremiah realized at one point that whenever he opened his mouth, he got into trouble. So he resolved to shut up . . . but when he did that, he discovered fire in his bones, fire that wouldn’t let him keep quiet (Jer. 20:9). Paul felt himself similarly constrained.
He preaches the gospel, but gets no glory from that because whether he feels like preaching or not, he has the assignment anyway. Necessity is “laid upon” him. If he revolts against his assignment (something that passage indicates may have happened from time to time), God does not remove the stewardship (oikonomia) that was entrusted to him. He talks about the nature of the reward he has for willing service in the verses coming up, but simply notes here that if he serves willingly he has a reward coming.
The point he is making is that he is not in it for the money, and he is not in it for the rewards he might get. He is in it because God threw him in it. It is worth remembering that in the ten minutes prior to his apostolic call, he had been breathing threats and murder against the followers of Christ.