When I hear the phrase that the church has to take care of itself before it can take care of others I think of how the ways of the world have corrupted our life together. Because of Jesus sacrifice I am free to think of myself not at all and if I do think of myself I would think in terms of counting others better than myself. I am here to extend myself for others and use my gifts to the benefits of others because Christ gave himself for me. The church as a corporate entity has the same function. Luther picked up on this issue in a sermon on 1 Corinthians 13.
“We see today how the Gospel has given to men knowledge beyond anything known in the world before, and has bestowed upon them new capabilities. Various gifts have been showered upon and distributed among them which have redounded to their honor. But they go on unheeding. No one takes thought how he may in Christian love serve his fellow-men to their profit. Each seeks for himself glory and honor, advantage and wealth. Could one bring about for himself the distinction of being the sole individual learned and powerful in the Gospel, all others to be insignificant and useless, he would willingly do it; he would be glad could he alone be regarded as Mister Smart. At the same time he affects deep humility, great self-abasement, and preaches of love and faith. But he would take it hard had he, in practice, to touch with his little finger what he preaches. This explains why the world is so filled with fanatics and schismatics, and why every man would master and outrank all others. Such as these are haughtier than those that taught them. Paul here attacks these vainglorious spirits, and judges them to be wholly “insignificant, though their knowledge may be great and their gifts even greater, unless they should humble themselves and use their gifts in the service of others. To these coarse and mean people he addresses himself with a multitude of words and a lengthy discourse, a subject he elsewhere disposes of in a few words; for instance, where he says (Phil 2, 3-4), “In lowliness of mind each counting others better than himself; not looking each of you to his own things, but each of you also to the things of others.” By way of illustration, he would pass sentence upon himself should he be thus blameworthy; this more forcibly to warn others who fall far short of his standing.”
 Luther Sermon on 1 Corinthians 13 taken from a Church Postil