Paul has described Christians as "the aroma of Christ." As God leads us through our lives, we carry Christ to everyone we contact, Christians and unbelievers alike. Whether we know it or not, and whether we intend to or not, we're influencing others in some way when it comes to their perception of Jesus. What a privilege this is! Who is qualified to represent Christ in this way?
Paul answers that question in this verse. The short answer is this:
Only actual Christians are qualified to represent Christ. False teachers, and fake Christians, had moved in among the true believers in many places. Paul describes some of them as "peddlers of God's word," meaning those pretending to be spiritual merely so they could profit from teaching about God. Perhaps some in Corinth had accused Paul of being one of these false apostles.
Paul declares that he and his co-workers are not this, not peddlers of God's Word. Instead, they are honest men, sent out by God. They speak in Christ, and they speak in the sight of God. Their message is trustworthy, because it comes from God, who sent them.
There are many false teachers and even leaders in some churches that profit off the Bible today. The Lord never intended or wishes to have his words turned around to fit our lives nor does he want any individual to get rich in monies spreading his word. In the world we live in today, there are some great preachers and religion is mis-represented by those in profit using the Lord.
How much is worship worth? That question is at the heart of a quiet (and, for many, uncomfortable) issue: pastor compensation. It would be a very different world if people were paid based on their value of their profession to society. Most clergy in America earn a humble $45,000 or less per year as they work tirelessly to share the gospel. While most seminarians don’t pursue a career in preaching expecting to get rich—some spiritual leaders have built lucrative empires comparable to the dynasties previously only enjoyed by star athletes.
“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.”
It is often through money that God can clearly and objectively show us that He is God and in control of everything. Matthew 6:32-33: “For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
The Bible warns us against the temptation to hoard our wealth, but instead encourages us to be “rich toward God” (Luke 12:21 NIV). This means that we use everything in our life (including our money) to honor God.
One of the ways we can serve God is by helping his children, our brothers and sisters, through paying a tithing and a generous fast offering. Money from tithing is used to build God's kingdom upon the earth. Contributing financially to God's work is a great way to serve God.