Paul’s Example: Selflessness in Pastoral Ministry

2 Corinthians 12:14
Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you; and I will not be burdensome to you: for I seek not yours but you: for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children.

“…for I seek not yours but you…” What an incredible choice of words to describe the heart of a true God-called pastor. This should be (and no doubt is for many) the attitude that we should have when feeding the sheep of God. Our gifts and calling should be to edify and build up the body of Christ, and not to be a drain to them. Here, Paul is not diminishing the role that the church should play in supporting their pastor, because in 1 Corinthians 9:9, he quotes the Old Testament as saying, “Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn.” But what he is doing is this; he is assuring the church that his heart is in the right place! Although he would have had every right (with Biblical precedence) to expect to receive from the church for his labor in the work of the Lord, he chooses rather to illustrate in verse fifteen that “I will very gladly spend and be spent for you…”

He even proves this level of commitment by practicing what he preaches. The last part of verse fifteen even says, “…though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.” In other words, what Paul was saying in essence is this, “I am very glad to sacrifice until it hurts for you, even though the more I do it, the less it is appreciated.” Ouch for the church, and at-a-boy for Paul! Often is the case that Satan gets an advantage in the church when he turns congregation against pastor without a cause. One of the first things that is usually brought up when a congregation becomes ungrateful for their pastor is money. Often, and unfortunately, people begin to make comments like, “Well, all that preacher wants is our money!” And in some cases, that may be true, but probably in more cases than not, the congregation is using an unjust balance and not considering all the facts when making such comments.

My challenge for you is this; if you have a pastor whose heart is in the right place, and who knowingly and willingly goes out of his way to minister to the needs of the saints, thank God for him, and support him as much as you can! You cannot over-pay a true man of God, but you can under-support him. What will you do?

~ Pastor Gary Caudill
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