I don't say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.
"I wish one of you would shut the [temple] doors, so you would no longer kindle a useless [fire on] My altar! I am not pleased with you," says the LORD of Hosts, "and I will accept no offering from your hands.
I have not coveted anyone's silver or gold or clothing.
You yourselves know that these hands have provided for my needs, and for those who were with me.
If others share this authority over you, don't we even more? However, we have not used this authority; instead we endure everything so that we will not hinder the gospel of Christ.
Do you not know that those who perform the temple services eat the food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in the offerings of the altar?
In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should earn their living by the gospel.
But I have used none of these rights, and I have not written this to make it happen that way for me. For it would be better for me to die than for anyone to deprive me of my boast!
I repeat: no one should consider me a fool. But if [you do], at least accept me as a fool, so I too may boast a little.
For we never used flattering speech, as you know, or had greedy motives-- God is our witness--
not addicted to wine, not a bully but gentle, not quarrelsome, not greedy--
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and by craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.
For an overseer, as God's manager, must be blameless, not arrogant, not quick tempered, not addicted to wine, not a bully, not greedy for money,
shepherd God's flock among you, not overseeing out of compulsion but freely, according to God's [will]; not for the money but eagerly;
In their greed they will exploit you with deceptive words. Their condemnation, [pronounced] long ago, is not idle, and their destruction does not sleep.
By abandoning the straight path, they have gone astray and have followed the path of Balaam, the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness,
Woe to them! For they have traveled in the way of Cain, have abandoned themselves to the error of Balaam for profit, and have perished in Korah's rebellion.
filled with the fruit of righteousness that [comes] through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
How sad for me! For I am like one who-- when the summer fruit has been gathered after the gleaning of the grape harvest-- [finds] no grape cluster to eat, no early fig, which I crave.
My Father is glorified by this: that you produce much fruit and prove to be My disciples.
You did not choose Me, but I chose you. I appointed you that you should go out and produce fruit and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you.
So when I have finished this and safely delivered the funds to them, I will go by way of you to Spain.
As it is written: He has scattered; He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever.
Now the One who provides seed for the sower and bread for food will provide and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness,
as you are enriched in every way for all generosity, which produces thanksgiving to God through us.
For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing in many acts of thanksgiving to God.
Through the proof of this service, they will glorify God for your obedience to the confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with others.
And our people must also learn to devote themselves to good works for cases of urgent need, so that they will not be unfruitful.
Kindness to the poor is a loan to the LORD, and He will give a reward to the lender.
"The one who welcomes you welcomes Me, and the one who welcomes Me welcomes Him who sent Me.
Anyone who welcomes a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet's reward. And anyone who welcomes a righteous person because he's righteous will receive a righteous person's reward.
And whoever gives just a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is a disciple-- I assure you: He will never lose his reward!"
Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in;
I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you took care of Me; I was in prison and you visited Me.'
"Then the righteous will answer Him, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You something to drink?
When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or without clothes and clothe You?
When did we see You sick, or in prison, and visit You?'
"And the King will answer them, 'I assure you: Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.'
He also said to the one who had invited Him, "When you give a lunch or a dinner, don't invite your friends, your brothers, your relatives, or your rich neighbors, because they might invite you back, and you would be repaid.
On the contrary, when you host a banquet, invite those who are poor, maimed, lame, or blind.
And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."
For God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you showed for His name when you served the saints-- and you continue to serve them.