Can you imagine the Apostle Paul being embarrassed?  Does the idea of this courageous and bold man of God cowering behind tender feelings seem odd to you?  He was feeling that way when he addressed the Corinthian believers in his second letter to them.

They were in pursuit of the “super-apostles” as if they were the earliest “groupies” in human history.  Whenever one of these eloquent teachers stood on his soapbox in the Agora, they would flock to hear his tantalizing words.  It was not a quiet academic pursuit, they loudly invited their acquaintances and vociferously lauded the unverified credentials of these charmers.

Consequently, Paul had to rein them in by competing on the level that he did not enjoy.  He forced himself to lay out his credentials in comparison, showing that he was not only equal to any of these charlatans but superior to them.  Instead of the Corinthians taking the initiative to defend and acclaim their apostle as the bearer of truth, he had to do it himself.

True apostleship must be accompanied by signs, wonders and miracles.  Paul had more than the minimum that demonstrated these authentic qualifications.   Furthermore, he never imposed himself on the Corinthian believers for any inconveniences, never once being a burden to them.  This ease of relationship should have not been missed by them but it was. 

Nevertheless, the Apostle Paul was planning a third visit to this gathering of Christians in Corinth.  His purpose is not to take advantage of their resources.  He only wanted to win their hearts.

Paul loved these believers as a father loves his own children.  He wanted to take care of them not for them to take care of him.  We who share in the privilege of ministry don’t easily live with this example.  Our hardships and want in life have often left our souls longing for better compensation so that the ministry is not a distraction for us.  Yet, if we love as God wants us to love and live according to that simple principle, God will make it work out.

In Paul’s emotional plea for the Corinthians to consider their loyalties, he taught the valuable lesson.  Will those that serve God among us feel our love as we care for their needs out of our initiative?  When we find a pastor or Christian leader who gives of  himself without selfless demands on us, will we give them our favor and care?

2 corinthians 12.11-18

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