A woman desperately needed a kidney transplant. The outlook for her was not good unless a compatible donor could be found. Then came the break. The woman’s brother offered to be the donor. His personal sacrifice seemed to provide the perfect solution; their matching blood types made successful surgery almost certain.

But then came the catch. The brother was willing to give the kidney as a gift, but he wanted $25,000 for the stress he would suffer. The sister, deeply offended by the apparent profit motive, rejected her brother’s terms and decided to take her chances in finding another donor.

This story illustrates two spiritual principles found in 1 Corinthians 9. The first is that a worker has a right to be compensated for his personal sacrifice (v.14). The second is that doing things for others without monetary reward is sometimes the only appropriate action (v.18). In Paul’s case, he wanted his personal sacrifice to be a testimony of the reality of his relationship to the Lord. His desire to help the Corinthians was best served, he felt, by being a model of faith and love without any monetary consideration.

We should have that same willingness. Our primary motivation should be love, not compensation.