Boy, am I glad its Friday! This has been one rough week. Microsoft Layoffs, high stress meetings with the GOV, and trying to find time to write 2 documents that carry a lot of contractual responsibility with them. All the while I have had this sore throat and cough that just doesn’t want to go away. However, God is so good…all the time. No matter my predicament, He is always there for me in full force; standing ready to give me the comfort, wisdom, and peace that I need at that moment.
3 We put no obstruction in anybody’s way [we give no offense in anything], so that no fault may be found and [our] ministry blamed and discredited. 4 But we commend ourselves in every way as [true] servants of God: through great endurance, in tribulation and suffering, in hardships and privations, in sore straits and calamities, 5 In beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless watching, hunger; 2 Corinthians 6:3-5 [AMP]
There is a lot here today and covered 3 verses that have some very important points to the Corinthians in Corinth regarding Paul’s ministry. Remember that yesterday Paul was talking about not accepting God’s grace in vain. In verse 3 and 4a, Paul is saying that his own conduct as God’s messenger does not constitute a stumbling-block which might hinder the ‘proper’ acceptance of God’s grace by others. What he means he makes clear in what he says next, “so that no fault may be found and our (lit. the) ministry blamed and discredited”. If fault could be found in his ministry, and there were those in Corinth only too ready to find it, then presumably that could be used as an excuse to reject his message. So, then he says, “but we commend ourselves in every way as [true] servants of God”. This is not really a personal commendation but more appropriately a commendation of a ministry.
Paul now goes into listing a bunch of factors to give evidence in commending his ministry.
- General Terms
- Great Endurance
- Tribulation and Suffering
- Hardships and Calmities
- Particular Examples
- Voluntary Hardships
- Sleepless watching
It kind of seems strange that Paul would call out these hardships to ‘commend’ his ministry…but underneath this is Paul’s recognition that the true servant of God is the ‘Suffering Servant’, and that the one who is the ‘Loyal Follower of Christ’ will share the fate of Jesus.
A disciple is not above his teacher, nor is a servant or slave above his master.Matthew 10:24
This really made me question whether I have really internalized ‘sharing in the fate of Jesus’ in my ministry. It might be easy to interpret this passage as Paul being boastful about himself and his ministry, but it is actually quite the opposite. When I think about my ministry, I need to be sure that I can stand with assurance that I am not standing in the way of someone properly receiving the grace of God. I must maintain a humble heart and crucify the prideful ‘Old Ben’ every day. I am the new Ben where that ‘Old Ben’ no longer lives but it is Christ who lives in me. This life I now live in the faith, I live by the grace of God Who loves me and gave Himself for me. (Galatians 2:20 personalized to me)