How were you inferior to the other churches, except that I was never a burden to you? Forgive me this wrong! Now I am ready to visit you for the third time, and I will not be a burden to you, because what I want is not your possessions but you. After all, children should not have to save up for their parents, but parents for their children.
Thoughts for Today:In verse 13 of our passage today, Paul introduces a hint of sarcasm. He asks the Corinthians a question, "Has my not becoming a financial burden inflicted some sort of injury upon you?" The only thing that Paul hadn't done in the Corinthian church was to ask for financial support. Why? Because he was more interested in their salvation and spiritual development, than he was in their money. He wanted their hearts, not their wallets.
The Bible teaches that those who minster spiritual things should receive their material support from those to whom they minister. (1 Corinthians 9:13-14: "Don't you know that those who serve in the temple get their food from the temple, and that those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar? In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.") So it isn't wrong for a pastor or other minister of the Gospel, to expect their financial needs to be met by God's people. However, it is wrong for monetary benefit to be a motive in ministry. It then becomes a job and not ministry.
I think it is wise for every pastor (or any other person considering involvement in ministry), to remember that serving the Lord and His people is a calling, not a vocation. It involves a passion for demonstrating the unselfish, serving, loving and sacrificial nature of Jesus to the world. And in the process of accomplishing that goal, the Lord will meet the needs of His ministers through the people they serve -- as long as their focus remains fixed on the people and not on the money. Ministry should never be considered a career or simply another job.
Questions to Ponder:I recently spoke with a man who told me that he thought pastors were grossly under paid for what they did. I had to laugh. Why? Because their reward and calling can't be evaluated by the standards of this world (dollars and cents). A decision to be involved in ministry is a decision to be sacrificial in just about every area including personal finances. Are you involved in ministry? Is it a job or a calling?