Paul continues to contend with his readers over their acceptance of false teachers. “Why do you let them treat you this way?” Paul didn’t like going to this level with his readers. He would much rather stay in the meat of the word but their acceptance of these false teachers required him to address them this way.
When Paul was with the Corinthians he spoke gently to them. He wasn’t a “Hell fire and brimstone” preacher. He shared God’s love and salvation through Jesus Christ. He didn’t put heavy burdens on the believers, spiritually or physically. But they welcomed those who came after him that did just that!
I can hear Paul crying out, “Why?! Why is it you forsake the teaching I brought you for those who would abuse you? Ok. You want to compare scars and evidence of devotion. Here is my list…”
Paul uses a bullet point list. He doesn’t even go into detail. It would take him more time than he had to break down all that he had really suffered. We know for certain that he wasn’t the only apostle who suffered greatly but his appears to be recorded better. And at the time of this writing he hadn’t even been imprisoned for years, uncharged, yet.
I don’t believe those he was comparing his list against had any hope of competing in this area. Paul would preach the gospel no matter the personal cost. Those he was being compared to preached for a fee. They required “payment” for their services. Paul “paid” others to listen. He paid in his blood sweat and tears. That was the kind of minister Jesus was; a Servant. Paul followed Jesus in the act of service, not being served.
Father God, I don’t even come close to Paul’s resume. I don’t want or need to either. I feel for him; having such a long list of sins committed against him. Jesus, Yours was even longer. Actually Yours was different and Your life set the tone for what was to come for Your followers. Only those who actually come to serve are Your servants. Those who demand to be served have no part in Your work.
Thank You for showing me where I have been seeking to be served instead of being content with serving. Forgive me for that attitude Father. Remind me of this lesson each time I start down that path again. Let me be a true servant Lord.