11 i have been a fool! you forced me to it, for i ought to have been commended by you. for i was not at all inferior to these super-apostles, even though i am nothing. 12 the signs of a true apostle were performed among you with utmost patience, with signs and wonders and mighty works. 13 for in what were you less favored than the rest of the churches, except that i myself did not burden you? forgive me this wrong!
14 here for the third time i am ready to come to you. and i will not be a burden, for i seek not what is yours but you. for children are not obligated to save up for their parents, but parents for their children. 15 i will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls. if i love you more, am i to be loved less? 16 but granting that i myself did not burden you, i was crafty, you say, and got the better of you by deceit. 17 did i take advantage of you through any of those whom i sent to you? 18 i urged titus to go, and sent the brother with him. did titus take advantage of you? did we not act in the same spirit? did we not take the same steps? [2 corinthians 12:11–18]
what a plea by our humble apostle. it is full tasty wit, potent truth, and unconditional love. this is not the super human musings of an “A1 power communicator”. paul has already admitted and he has witnesses – he was no matt chander, tony evans, john piper, or thabiti anyabwile. (look pastor thabiti up if you don’t know of him. Godly man who’s life and messages are saturated with the gospel.) no, paul was a rather ordinary preacher and pastor. which makes me realize how full of the Holy Spirit his heart and life and words were. these words and actions reflect the heart of Jesus. beautiful, powerful – truly Divine!
Jesus was often full of tasty wit, potent truth, and unconditional love. not just to get an “A” in communicating. rather, he was God in the flesh, working diligently to communicate why God had come in the flesh to set us free from our sin and flesh.
i pray today you read and re-read this passage as you sit with God. think on it today, pray in it, through it, and let it soak you in the presence of God. sit in phrases like:
i have been a fool.
i am nothing.
the signs of a true apostle were performed among you with utmost patience,
forgive me this wrong!
i am ready to come to you.
i will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls.
Father God, Daddy –
take your word and soak our souls in your presence. don’t let us quickly run through this passage as if we were reading an email. this is your voice to us. give us ears to hear, soft open hearts to receive, and a submissive spirit to follow you. you alone are worthy to command our every move, our every action. but Lord, as you command, we also beg that through the power of your Spirit you would change our hearts so we can willingly and joyfully follow as you lead us today. fill us with your Spirit as you did paul and make our life and words full of the heart of Jesus!
in our Savior’s blessed name – Jesus – amen!
~ john ryan