II Corinthians 12:14-15
Now I am ready to visit you for the third time, and I will not be a burden to you, because what I want is not your possessions, but you. After all, children should not have to save up for their parents, but parents for their children. So I will very gladly spend for you everything I have and expend myself as well. If I love you more, will you love me less? NIV
It is clear to me this morning that I don’t know very much at all about Paul. Here, in this chapter, he is feeling sorry for himself and speaking sarcastically. But, there are some powerful grains of truth in what he says.
The word “worry,” appears early in this passage in The Message. “Everything is in readiness now for this, my third visit to you. But don’t worry about it; you won’t have to put yourselves out. I’ll be no more of a bother to you this time than on the other visits.” MSG
Earlier in the chapter, he chides the church in Corinth, which has apparently been complaining because they have had Paul ministering to them, and not one of the “super-apostles.” Paul tells them that he is in no way inferior to those for whom the church is wishing, and that the only difference in their experience is that he was never a burden to the. “Forgive me this wrong!” he says in verse 13.
So, his reminder not to worry here is less than genuine. It’s more letting them know that he still doesn’t expect the church to put themselves out on his behalf.
He doesn’t expect the church to put themselves out …
I recently read part of David Platt’s book, Radical. In it, he talks about the amount of money US churches spend on missions relative to their giving … it’s not a big number.
My question is, why don’t we put ourselves out?
Are we afraid? Or, are we ourselves simply too human? Is it that we want only to be fed as baby Christians and that we are unwilling to stand up and feed and care for and mentor others?
It appears to me that Paul treats the church at Corinth as a child … in fact, he even compares himself to a parent, saying, “Children shouldn’t have to look out for the parents, parents look out for the children.” MSG
I don’t know enough about everything that has gone on before this, or about what happens after to be able to learn much more from this verse at this time. One of the things that I have learned over the course of this project, is that I seem to know the Old Testament, in many ways, much better than the New. I’ve certainly spent time studying Christ’s life and His parables, but, when it comes to the time after His death and resurrection, I’ve not spent much time there at all. This is something I need to do. I live in the time after Christ’s resurrection … there are examples here that I need to better understand and to learn from.
In order to move from being a baby believer to a fully developed follower of Christ, I need to put myself out on behalf of others. I am called to love and to serve them. I can’t just sit on the couch, like a teenager after Thanksgiving dinner while an older relative says, “don’t worry, I’ll have this all cleaned up in no time.”
I want to be in the kitchen!
That’s what I’ll think about today.