2Co 11:7-9 “Have I committed an offence in abasing myself that ye might be exalted, because I have preached to you the gospel of God freely? I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service. And when I was present with you, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man: for that which was lacking to me the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied: and in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep myself.”
Even though Paul was an apostle of Jesus Christ, there is no evidence to indicate he was ever high-handed with the saints of God. If rebuke was necessary, he made sure to point out that it was not of his own notion. He always pointed the saints to the instruction of the gospel according to the will of God. His walk among them was one of humility.
Here, Paul inquires of the brethren whether they consider him to have sinned because he walked humbly among them. Notice the reason that Paul says he abased (humbled) himself; that they might be exalted. He was always filled with the desire to see the children of God edified (lifted up or exalted) regardless of what it might require of him. Also, notice the reason why he says they were exalted.
The gospel of God was preached to them. We would do well to realize today, when we are blessed to hear the gospel of God, that we have been exalted above the things of the world. Paul further asserts that he had brought the gospel to them without charge. Again, Paul did not tell them that he had done so without cost.
We might appreciate receiving something from someone that they did not have any real investment in. However, we tend to be much more impressed and humbled when someone gives us something they have labored for. It should be even more humbling when that was made possible because of the love and concern of others. This was the point that Paul was impressing upon the hearts of the Corinthian brethren.
Paul preciously addressed how the churches of Macedonia had given out of their poverty. It is in this fashion that Paul asserts that he had “robbed other churches.” He had received help from them in order to bring the gospel to the saints at Corinth. Furthermore, rather than give anyone at Corinth a reason to say Paul was only looking to better his own situation, he would not even tell them when he was lacking.
It was not that Paul did not have the right to expect the Corinthian brethren to help him. However, he had no intention of allowing them to be deceived by others into thinking that Paul had only come for their material goods. He was willing to take help from the brethren of Macedonia because that help was freely given. It was given so that the gospel of Christ might be spread.
Paul said that he had kept himself from being a burden to the Corinthians. Furthermore, he was determined to never be a burden to them. That was not to say that he would accept no help from them. It would have to be freely given in the same fashion as the Macedonians had done.
As ministers of the gospel, it is important for us to not be burdensome to any. We should go where and when we are led by the Holy Spirit. Our trust should always be in God’s provision and not in man. At the same time, when the church freely gives so that greater attention might be given to the spreading of God’s word, we should receive that with great humility.
May we always look to God and realize that when the gospel of God is preached to us that we are indeed in an exalted estate!