2 Corinthians 12:14-15
Here for the third time I am ready to come to you. And I will not be a burden, for I seek not what is yours but you. For children are not obligated to save up for their parents, but parents for their children. I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls.
And so as I pondered the possibility of preaching on tithing, the text that lay closest to hand was in the verse just before the words, “I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls.” In verse 14 Paul says, to the church at Corinth, “Here for the third time I am ready to come to you. And I will not be a burden, for I seek not what is yours but you.” I seek not what is yours but you! What a great sentence. That is the flag waving over this sermon. It is the preface, heart, and conclusion. I seek not what is yours, but you. I seek to build up a church of whom it can never be said, “They honor me with their tithes, but their heart is far from me” (cf. Matthew 15:8). Of whom it will never be said, “Woe to you, Bethlehem, for you tithe every honorarium, birthday gifts, and before-taxes-income, but have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice, mercy, and faith” (Matthew 23:23). I seek not what is yours but you.
How many marriages deteriorate into empty motions because husbands do not hear the silent yearnings of the wife: “I don’t want your money, I want you“? How many parents have lost their children because they failed to interpret the signs: “I don’t want your presents, Daddy, I want you“? And how many tithing churchgoers will be lost to the kingdom because the Word of God never reached their hearts: “I will seek not what is yours but you”? So let there be no mistaking it, in this sermon on tithing I seek not what is yours but you. My desire is to spend and be spent out for your souls, not your silver. Things are utterly subordinate. Life essential is the life of the heart.