II Corinthians 12:14&15
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. 15 And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.
Paul told the problem plagued church members at Corinth that he was yearning for them. Not for what they had, or who they were; neither how they were able to benifit the church, but, he sought their very soul & spirit! He wanted them to give themselves wholly to the Lord. The Lord wants our hearts, that is to say, "all of us." The minister seeks his people out of a deep love for each of them that he might assist them in being spiritual and have their own personal relationship with the Savior according to the Spirit of God and in compliance with the Word of God. The preacher seeks them that they might seek Him, that is the Lord.
According to II Corinthians 8:1-5, This mission was a success as the people were wholly given and submitted to God and his perfect will. "Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; 2 How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. 3 For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; 4 Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. 5 And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God."
According to the Apostle's own testimony, Paul gave himself first to the Lord in every aspect of life holding back nothing.
But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. 8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.
Paul said, "I will very gladly spend and be spent for you." This is the love that every preacher must show his people. I am glad that when I was a young Christian that my Pastor showed a personal love and interest in my spiritual well being and helped me whenever I needed Him.
The Preacher seeks his people so that they might grow to serve and worship as Christians who please the Lord as they spend their days waiting for the Savior and ministering in and through the local church. "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." I Thes. 5:23.
Spent for You
Just as our Lord Jesus gave himself for the sheep, all good ministers of the gospel live to please Jesus and to bless and help the Christians that God has called them to reach with the Gospel and build up in the faith. Paul gave some moving last words to the church leaders of Ephesus in Acts 20:17-24:
"And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church. 18 And when they were come to him, he said unto them, Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons, 19 Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews: 20 And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house, 21 Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. 22 And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: 23 Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. 24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God."
His life did not matter, but their spirituality did. This was the very example that the church leaders witnessed so that they might carry on their leadership with Paul's example. I know many pastors who are spent trying to serve their people! Being a good pastor means giving to the saints and to the Lord in a sacrificial way.
And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus. 11 And when he was come unto us, he took Paul's girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles. 12 And when we heard these things, both we, and they of that place, besought him not to go up to Jerusalem. 13 Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.
II Timothy 2:8-12
Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel: 9 Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound. 10 Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. 11 It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: 12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us.
Love is the glue that holds us together with Christ. We must remember that our love is always in the Holy Ghost and can never be contrary to the Scripture. Love is not enabling our people to sin. Here are 5 things that we should know about love in order to effectivly minister:
1. Love is Commanded
John 15:9-12 "As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. 10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. 11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. 12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you."
The command is not simply to love, but to love with the same quality that our Savior loved us. This command came from Jesus and should be stressed and followed just as seriously as the command to "go into all the world and preach the Gospel."
2. Love should be Confirmed
John 13:34&35 "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."
Our love for eachother should be confirmed by the unsaved. We should be concerned about the testimony of our church. Each one of us contribute to that testimony when we are out in the world. Is our church a place that they would feel welcome or is it just like the worlplace and like other social circles that are degraded by clicks, contention and division.
3. Love should Continue
I Thes. 3:12 "And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you."
Notice that our love for one another should not only continue, but should also increase! We ought to love who Jesus loves and He loves every one of his saints. I realize that all of us may be hard to love at times, but we must make that effort to maintain a sweet spirit in our church.
4. Love should be Complete
I Peter 1:22 "Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently."
We should love each other fervently and completely. We may not always get along or agree. We may irritate each other from time to time. But it is always important to love for "love covers a multitude of sins."
5. Love is Courageous
I John 3:16 "Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren."
True love is giving yourself for another like Christ did for us. We need to look around our church and ask ourself if we would be willing to give ourselves for the others sitting there. And if the answer is no, then we must ask our Savior to give us of His courageous love.
Paul said that the more he loved them, the less they seemed to love him. It is not easy being the preacher because you must always love the Lord enough to stand by His Word and not just tell people what they want to hear. You must love your people enough to tell them what's right eventhough it may be hard for them to swallow the truth. The devil attacks the church in two ways, from without and from within. The devil's favorite game is to turn the people against the preacher. If you are not walking with God you may find yourself mixed up in the devil's snare. Preachers need to love their people so that they know that they are being cared for and prayed for and loved.