A pastor was dealing with a young lady who was arguing that she had plenty of time to decide for Jesus Christ. He handed her a piece of paper and said, “Would you sign a statement that you would be willing to postpone salvation for a year?” No, she would not do that. Six months? No again. One month? She hesitated but said no. Then she began to see the folly of her argument because she had the assurance of opportunity only for today, and she trusted Christ without delay.1
Live A Life Worth Your Calling
I am sure we don’t have to think too hard to able to name religious leaders who have let us down. We could lament the reasons but know this is a part of Satan’s strategy. If the Evil One can bring down God’s shepherds and leaders it hinders the advancement of the Gospel. Nothing shakes the church to its core more than the bad example of people who profess to be Christians falling flat on their faces. Unconnected people use these inconsistencies of the forgiven saints (and yet still sinners) as an excuse for rejecting Jesus Christ. Paul was careful to guard his life so as to not put a stumbling block in the way of either sinners or saints. He did not want it to hinder the ministry because of decisions he made in his life.
13Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother….19So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding. Romans 14
Trials Have a Purpose (2 Cor. 6:4–6)
…but as servants of God, we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love… 2 Corinthians 6:4.
In 2 Corinthians 6, Paul reminded his readers of the trials he had endured for them. He points out he has been a man of endurance and patience. Paul did not quit when things were tough. What a great word of encouragement for us modern believers and leaders. Trials will come, but the same God that lead Paul through his afflictions is there to provide strength for us during our trying times. I love this quote by Warren Wiersbe, “Afflictions are trials under pressure when you are pressed down by circumstances. Necessities are the everyday hardships of life, and distresses refer to experiences that push us into a corner where there seems to be no escape. The Greek word means ‘a narrow place.’”
Ministry Comes at a High Cost
This section of Scripture shows us a glimpse at the price Paul paid to be faithful. And like so many believers and congregations the Corinthians did not appreciate all Paul did for them. Faithfulness is expected, not appreciated. Those believers brought sorrow to his heart, yet Paul never let that dampen his ability to rejoice in all circumstances.
9You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Although he was rich, he became poor for our sakes, so that you could become rich through his poverty. 2
The word translated poorly is better translated if you include the concept “the complete destitution of a beggar.” Paul became a beggar that the people of God become rich. It is never about the under-shepherd, it is about us leading people to a better understanding and deeper faith in the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ.
1 Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 1, pp. 650–651). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
2 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (2 Co 6:4–6). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
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