We launch ourselves into the last chapter of Paul’s second letter to the church in Corinth. It is hard to believe that we have made our way through both letters, and I hope you have been able to hear the difference between the two letters. The first is much more encouraging and Paul seems to have more of a mentoring approach. The second is much more critical and one in which Paul almost realizes either they are going to get it, or they are not. Vs.2 Paul has another warning for the church in Corinth, if he has to come back again to Corinth in order to right the wrongs: “I will not be lenient”.
Once again Paul’s greatest frustration with the church is that they consistently require Paul to demonstrate that he is a legitimate apostle. The assumption is that there are probably a number within that community who do not consider Paul on the same level as the church leaders in Jerusalem. Paul is not jealous, but rather frustrated that they would not respect him in a way that he is to be respected. Again, it is not a battle that I would choose to fight, for my belief is that over time if we consistently push forward, then people are going to realize who you are and who you aren’t. We should never do anything in our lives with the motivation of trying to prove ourselves for other people. Just do that which God has placed on our heart. But for Paul, there is a palpable frustration in not being recognize as he feels he should be recognized.
In vs.10 Paul states that all of his words up to this point have been for the purpose of building up and not for tearing down. His desire is that the church would be strengthened, and not that he would get on the case of any one individual so much so that they would feel inadequate and unable to complete the task at hand. There is a fine line when dealing with volunteers at the church in regards to whether you are able to be critical in any way or not. Criticism has the natural tendency to put people on the defensive. At a certain point a volunteer could easily say that it simply isn’t worth the effort.
Vs.13 gives us a wonderful benediction that can serve universally. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. What a wonderful trinitarian statement to end the chapter. Next…GALATIANS!