I don’t know how it strikes you, but I find 2 Corinthians both slightly embarrassing and hugely insightful. Paul almost seems uncharacteristically boastful as he justifies his apostolic calling and service, and reveals so much of his eternal, otherworldly hope and motivation! It’s very challenging to me personally as I read it. In this chapter, as he explains his specific calling and commission, he emphasizes two things that he is completely sure God has called him to do, and reaffirms his commitment to these tasks:
· To get everyone he meets ready to face God.
· To persuade people to make things right with each other and to become friends with God.
All the other things we learn from Paul about church structure, government, operation, and problem-solving are so that churches (and the people who are those churches) can be healthy, can be loving God and loving people, and can be reaching those outside God’s family and developing them into disciples. Neither pressure nor persecution nor prison, nor even popularity, could sway Paul from his passion to “work urgently with everyone he met to get them ready to meet God.”
This same passion drove him to develop churches and work hard to help them correct the slightest deviation from that course. This same passion pushed him forward, never ever settling for personal comfort or gain, looking ahead to eternity with Christ and the people he brought to faith.
Father, We are the product, generations removed, of Paul’s unswerving, passionate commitment to get people ready to meet God. Please may his words and example stir us today to the purity and simplicity of Kingdom of God purpose. Help us stay passionate and focused and productive and effective. Help us get people ready to meet God! Amen!
Ready To Face God
Reading: 2 Corinthians 5, Psalm 11
That keeps us vigilant, you can be sure. It's no light thing to know that we'll all one day stand in that place of Judgment. That's why we work urgently with everyone we meet to get them ready to face God. God alone knows how well we do this, but I hope you realize how much and deeply we care. We're Christ's representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God's work of making things right between them. We're speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he's already a friend with you. (2 Corinthians 5:11, 20 MSG)
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