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“nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with labor and hardship we kept working night and day so that we would not be a burden to any of you;” 

The only three times this word for “burden” is used in the New Testament, they are used by Paul. Once in 2 Corinthians 2:5, once in 1 Thessalonians 2:9 and then here in this verse. Paul did not in any way want to be a burden to those to whom he was shepherding. Whether it was what he was saying or doing, he wanted to spare them the obligation to care for him.

Unfortunately, too many believers today dump all their “stuff” on others. They guilt others into caring for them. I had an experience once when someone approached me to ask for money because they were “down on their luck right now.” When I told them I couldn’t help, they accused me of not being a Christian. Guilt!


Teach your children to not be a burden. Teach them to carry their own weight. There is nothing wrong with asking for help. There is nothing wrong with receiving help. But we should never guilt someone into helping us. We should never cause someone else to feel obligated to take care of us. 

Your little Johnny or Susie may be one of those children who just oozes with mercy. Every time they see a person on the side of the road with one of those homemade signs asking for a handout, they beg you to give them some money. What a perfect teaching lesson. You must do what the Lord directs you to do but use that opportunity to teach this truth. Showing mercy is Christlike, but being an enabler is not.

If you have ever put your guilt on someone else to get them to give you something or care for you, repent. Then go and make that right. We need to follow Paul’s example of accepting a gift but not expecting or demanding it. Then the gift is truly a blessing rather than an entitlement.

Father, I thank You for friends and family who have come alongside me in the past. Help me pay it forward. But Lord, help me to be careful not to pass on any expectations to receive.


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