12:14 Now for the third time I am ready to come to you. And I will not be burdensome to you; for I do not seek 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 your souls; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I am loved.
16 But I did not burden you. Nevertheless, being crafty, did I catch you by cunning! 17 Did I take advantage of you by any of those whom I sent to you? 18 I urged Titus, and sent our brother with him. Did Titus take advantage of you? Did we not walk in the same spirit? Did we not walk in the same steps?
There was a ton of prostitution and sexual sin in Corinth which was a major topic in his first letter to them and which Paul will allude to again at the end of this letter. Prostitution is a business transaction in which one acquires the illusion of affection and love in exchange for money. When Paul came to Corinth God impressed him to take no wages. He worked and taught, and preached the good news entirely free of charge. The love of God was offered without money or price involved. For the first time I can understand why. Originally I thought it was just for practical reasons. Church plants are small and all the people are new believers. Even today church planters either have to be financially supported by existing churches or they work in another line, as Paul sometimes did making tents.
Now we discover that when the church was up and going and Paul left and sent Titus in his place, he also served them for free.
Now that there is trouble and men are coming in to deceptively take over the church and take it in a new and not-good-news direction Paul reminds them how much he loves them, how he spent himself in every way for them for free, how Titus came after and also laboured for free. He wants them to look back and think.
Can you see it? By always serving them without cost there was no possibility for them to entertain the idea that Paul did any of it for personal gain. He points out that he wasn't even a crafty profiteer who sent someone later (Titus) to start the cash flow going.
There was no love and affection for profit. This was not spiritual prostitution. This was not a business transaction. He and Titus and others too served them from love for Jesus with absolutely no strings attached.
Now I want you to look back and think. Has God walked with you for profit? Has He blessed you with life, sustenance, abilities, relationships, and family for His own gain? Do any of His blessings come with strings attached? They don't. You can ignore Him or even curse Him daily and they will still be yours. As He loves you more you can love Him less yet His love will be unaffected by your indifference. His sun shines on the just and the unjust and His rain falls on both as well. With Him there is no ulterior motive. He is not running a scam. There is no spiritual prostitution. To a planet where it seems everything, including 'love' is a business deal of some sort, Jesus came at no cost to us, spent Himself completely at no cost to us, and offers everything heaven has to us, again without cost.
Look back. Think about it.