Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you: and I will not be burdensome to you: for I see not yours but you: for the children ought not lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children.
- 2 Corinthians 12:14
This scripture is often overlooked, but has some foundational instructions both for home and Church.
All parents would love to have their children to lay up (provide for them), but that is not the way it is. Paul was using this family illustration to present some points about his third visit to the Corinthians Church — “I will not be burdensome to you” Over the ages, from the early days in the book of Judges until now, certain of the ‘priesthood’ have been burdensome upon their ‘children’ — the parishioners. Their ‘children' are the congregation they are bringing through to adulthood, yet many have, through covetousness with feigned words “made merchandise” of them instead. Luke 10:7 states that "a labourer is worthy of his hire” but some like to get paid, not as labourers but kings: and many do.
A few years ago, I watched an interview with a very wealthy ‘Pastor’ who was asked a tricky question about his wealth and the type of car his wife drove. He was defending her, saying the car was already three years old. What he didn’t say was that, even at that age, the car was valued at $107,000. Many of his ‘children’ could barely afford a basic ten-year-old car, yet they were 'laying up' for the parents (the Pastor and his wife).
Another TV preacher I saw was bragging about his net worth of $50,000,000, which he received from the 'children." He called it being blessed by God, but some might call it robbing the treasury. Paul was commissioned to bring God’s Word to the Gentiles (Romans 15:16), and he had read enough history of priests ‘doing well’ out of the ministry, and seen the current priesthood of his era doing the same, to know he didn't want to be deceitful in his ministry, especially not for money.
As some smart person once said, Heaven’s pavements are made of gold, therefore, gold, while being valuable here, is the asphalt of the next life. Not only the priesthood, but some businesses operate with a similar ethic, underpaying workers to boost profits. We also see some politicians and councillors, and thankfully not all, deceiving constituents so they themselves can line their pockets.
Thos who appreciate what God has done for them should not desire to profit that way. If God profits you, let it be done honestly and in order. Paul mentions in Ephesians 5:3 not to let covetousness (the root cause of this type of trouble) once be named among us that becometh saints (Holy Ones).
Today’s prayer: Dear Lord, thanks you that Paul laid a great foundation to follow. You have told me that a worker is worthy of his or her hire, but please help me not to let covetousness be attached to my name.