There are times in the books of First and Second Corinthians, when the Apostle Paul sounds a little bit selfish. In these books he is forced into defending his rights and privileges of an Apostle by people who are seeking to descredit him and undo his preaching. There are times that preachers need to stand up for themselves, for it is not good for them to allow the congregation to abuse them. They have a responsibility to keep the congregation from sinning against anyone, even themselves.
This is why the Apostle Paul is forced to point out the fact that he has a right, as a missionary, to get paid for his work in the church. He does not want to get paid, but he has a right to get paid if he so desires:
But I have used none of these things. And I am not writing these things so that it will be done so in my case; for it would be better for me to die than have any man make my boast an empty one. (I Corinthians 9:15 NIV)
Paul does not want his “boast” to be an “empty one.” That is to say, he takes pride in working for free. And yet, he needs to stand up for his rights in this verse, because the congregation is abusing him. They are saying that the fact that he is not receiving any money from them is a sign of his inferiority, not his care and love for them. He will not put up with this kind of slander and merely accept it, because it is not right. We should never allow God’s ministers to be slandered in the church if we can help it.