We never came with words of flattery or with a pretext for greed . . . though we might have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you . . . (1 Thessalonians 2:5, 7)
A friend of mine pastored a small church in a tiny, rural community for many years. The mentality at this church was that the pastor should not be paid any more than the person in the congregation with the lowest income. For most of us in ministry, I can assure you that would have been a clear indication that serving this church was ¡°not God¡¯s will¡± for us. Yet, my friend hung in there and lovingly led his congregation in spite of the mistreatment he received. His ministry proved authentic because he refused to demand what was rightfully his and chose instead to show ¡°gentleness¡± to his people.
Paul and Silas demonstrated this same integrity among the Thessalonians. As apostles and missionaries they could have demanded financial remuneration for their work in the church. But they carried out their ministry without placing any demands on the people, thereby proving their authenticity. Clearly it is appropriate to take adequate care of the financial needs of the Lord¡¯s servants. But one mark of authentic servants is that they are not in ministry for the money.