Friday, October 27, 2006

"Commended as God's Servants"

Do you find yourself struggling to communicate how much you love your people group? Are you longing to see them embrace the "day of salvation" God has put before them, to see them reconciled to God? Are you seeking to make sense of the things you are going through that apparently detract from that overall purpose?

If so, take heart. The Apostle Paul addressed exactly that situation in his second letter to Corinth. After appealing to them to be reconciled to God in chapter 5 and to embrace "today" as the day of salvation at the opening of chapter 6, Paul relates his ministry to God's overall work in Corinth.

2 Cor. 6:3-10 (ESV) We put no obstacle in anyone's way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, 4 but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, 5 beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; 6 by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; 7 by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; 8 through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; 9 as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; 10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.

Specifically Paul tells them that rather than becoming a hindrance, Paul and his companions sought to live in such a way as to not be an obstacle. In fact, they used the frustrating and even dangerous experiences of ministry as elements to "commend" themselves to the Corinthians. In other words, they allowed their struggles to prove to the Corinthians the genuineness of their love, their commitment, and their faith. Paul's "commendations" run the gamut from sleeplessness to persecution, and includes not only experiences but lifestyles -- "purity", "Truthful speech". They found ways to turn the negatives into positives for the kingdom!

What are you struggling with today? As a servant of God, ask Him to use it to commend you to the people you are serving.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Have to think that that was very
helpful to someone on a difficult
walk, with Satan's fiery darts
aimed in their direction. Weaknesses, trials, afflictions,
tough times, all can be used of
God even tho the adversary may have
instigated some of them! Pretty
comforting, at least to me.