I Do Not Seek What is Yours, But You
by Impact Church
Here for this third time I am ready to come to you, and I will not be a burden to you; for I do not seek what is yours, but you; for children are not responsible to save up for their parents, but parents for their children. 2 Corinthians 12:14
Alexander the Great’s chief general, Parmenion, counseled him to attack the Persian navy in a battle off the coast of Ephesus. The Persian navy was the world’s finest. Rather than risk a loss in a small skirmish, Alexander declined the battle and instead, dismantled his navy. In a bold move, he attacked the Persian ports with his army, cutting off the Persian navy and in time, Alexander the Great had defeated more than the Persian navy: he had defeated Persia.
It is so easy to seek the lesser of something, instead the greater. Eve sought knowledge. Lot sought the good life. Esau sought a meal over a birthright and blessing. Achan sought the spoils of war. David sought a woman bathing. The Jews sought the bread of Jesus’ miracle. Judas sought 30 pieces of silver. People seek mammon over God. Stuff instead of someone. Possessions over a person.
Anyone who has lost a loved one and had to deal with their estate, their clothes, their pictures, and their possessions, will talk about the pain of the loss that an item brings back in memory; the scent of cologne or perfume will awaken the sensation of presence and remind one of the lost loved one. Death is a painful reminder that we spend too much time with things, the icons of our life, rather than with the fullness and substance of another person.
The Apostle Paul had preached the Gospel to the Corinthians and they believed. He founded the church in Corinth. He was their spiritual father. After spending a couple of years with him, Paul set out to evangelize other unreached parts of the world and the Corinthian church began to listen to other teachers, people who were critical of Paul and his ministry. The church was led astray from the purity and simplicity of the Gospel and was divided around the false teachers.
To counter the false teachers and to restore the church to its proper order, centered on the completed work of Jesus Christ, Paul made a second visit to the church. It was a painful visit. In time, the church returned to their fidelity to the Gospel. But the false teachers still had a voice in the church and in anticipation of a third visit by Paul, they accused Paul of coming to gather money from the church. There was a need for a gift to give to the impoverished church in Jerusalem – chapters 8 and 9 provide detail about Paul’s philosophy about giving – and they had set aside money for it. Paul’s true motive was challenged. The false leaders were accusing him of being interested in money.
Challenged about his motive, Paul takes it even further: he in no way will be a burden on them, seeking what is theirs, but rather, more importantly, he is seeking them. Paul didn’t want their money, Paul wanted them.
Is love going to find its gratitude? Paul was not seeking their lowly riches, but was seeking them. Having shared the Gospel of the Grace of Jesus Christ, knowing that “we love because He first loved us”, Paul was coming to the Corinthian church to be with what he hoped was a grateful and generous people.
We can learn some important principles about Grace and graciousness in light of this verse. Those who are suspicious about people seeking money are at their core, materialistic themselves. They make everything about things, or as Paul wrote, “what is yours.” Secondly, a graceful servant of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is going to seek the highest wage, which isn’t money or things, but a person’s life. Finally, this passage reminds us that we can use what is ours to insulate us from who we are. The material world is no substitute for our spiritual need.