Today’s Scripture: 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. Wherefore? because I love you not? God knoweth. 2 Corinthians 11:7-10

A quick internet search will present you with many stories of failed criminals. Some of the funnier stories involve people trying to rob banks and failing miserably. Recently, I shared a few of these stories with the congregation of Quentin Road Baptist Church to emphasize the point that robbery is a bad thing. However, in this passage, Paul presents a specific instance of ‘robbery’ as a good thing.

Paul didn’t have to be abased, or suffer need. He was affluent and well-trained. Paul could have had anything in this world, but he saw something more important in this world than just fine things. He saw that there was a world that was hurting, and he had found the answer – the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Because of that, he was willing to go to the ends of the earth and suffer need and hunger so that those people could hear the Gospel.

Paul always presented the Gospel freely. No works attached – by faith only. He presented it freely to the Corinthians, and they received it freely. However, Paul’s enemies accused him of dealing improperly with finances intended for the churches. His response was, “Ok, I’m guilty. I robbed other churches, taking wages of them to do you service.”

Of course, he didn’t really rob the church. They had given him gifts and supported him financially, and that enabled him to minister. So, the Corinthian church received eternal life, doctrines, and teachings. They were on the receiving end of the things that would help them successfully live their lives the way God wanted them to live, and it cost them nothing.

This was a labor of love for Paul. He gave of himself for them and received nothing from them in return. Do you love the people who teach you the ways of God? Do you have a special place in your heart for the one who brought the Gospel to you? If not, ask God to help you to have a love for those important people in your life.

Devotional by Jim Scudder, Jr.