The apostle here acquaints the Corinthians, that he prepared himself a third time to come unto them, being providentially hindered twice before, yet with a firm resolution not to be any ways burdensome to them; for he coveted not their possessions, but was desirous of their salvation.
And as a parent lays up for his children, and takes not from them; so he desired, as their spiritual father, to enrich them with spiritual good things, and not to take from them any of their temporal riches. Nay, he adds, that he was willing to spend and be spent; that is, to spend his time, his strength, his pains, his life, although he met with very undue returns from some of them, who loved him so little, because he loved them so much; showing more kindness to the false apostles, than to him their spiritual father.
Behold here an imitable pattern of ministerial diligence and faithfulness, love and affectionateness: the apostle was willing to spend and be spent; not only his purse and pains, but time and strength, life and health.
Oh, how tender are some of their carcass, how fearful of their skin, how sparing of their pains, for fear of shortening their days and hastening their end!
Whereas the lamp of our lives can never burn out better than in lighting others to heaven: is it not better that our flesh consume with industry and usefulness, than wear out with rust and idleness?
As it is the duty, so 'tis the dispostion of the faithful ministers of Christ to spend and to be spent for souls.