for we are not overextending ourselves, as though we did not reach you. for we were the first to come all the way to you with the gospel of Christ. [2 Corinthians 10:14]
paul states that he is not overextending himself, that is, after planting the church, his first letters to corinth landed on people’s consciences, stirring in them the Holy Spirit leading them to godly grief and repentance. paul strongly feels that he does not need to compete with other false teachers or the worldly passions in order to reach the true Christians in corinth.
as we disciple others, share in our lot families and minister to others, we need to ask ourselves: do we overextend ourselves?
oftentimes, we feel the burden that we need to do everything at once–we need to present everything we have ever learned at once in a conversation with an unbeliever, or a new believer, or to someone who is experiencing a season of dryness. we feel a pressing weight like heart change is our responsibility, when we say that we know that it is Christ’s.
according to the grace of oGd given to me, like a skilled master builder i laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. let each one take care how he builds upon it. for no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ [1 corinthians 3:10-11]
for though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. for I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. [1 corinthians 4:15]
do you see it?
paul does not have to build the entire building/Christian, he is like a father partnering with many brothers and sisters who are teachers and he knows that lives are marked with ebbs and flows. after one is justified, the process of sanctification is a lifelong journey with peaks and valleys, and the community of Christians builds up individuals mutually over the lifetime of the Christian.
yes, brothers and sisters, know that we plead for others to be saved, we winsomely point to Christ, but ultimately, the salvation of people does not depend on us…what we can do is be faithful in laying a foundation of Christ.
in this world we may not see the harvest of our labors to lead others to Christ. as you spend time in the presence of God today, spend time in prayer–
- pray that you would not usurp the work of Christ by overextending yourself, by taking responsibility for someone else’s salvation or growth.
- pray for patience for those who continue to reject God or for those who you don’t think are growing fast enough.
- pray that you would not take credit for, or try to compete with the world for other’s hearts by your crafty arguments, but that you would only boast in Christ crucified.
- pray for your own heart to be soft, ready to hear God’s call for your own life.
- pray for rest in Christ and his work.
come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. [matt 10:28]
~ conor eastman