2 Cor. 6:1-10
As Godís fellow-workers we urge you not to receive Godís grace in vain. For he says, "In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you." I tell you, now is the time of Godís favor, now is the day of salvation.
We put no stumbling-block in anyoneís path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.
Before we really dig into this passage I want you to notice that it is directed to those Paul considered "fellow-workers."† We might assume that he is talking about Timothy or Barnabas or Silas, but he is actually talking about the members of the church in Corinth; he is writing his letter to the pew-sitters.† But Paul doesn't consider them spectators, he considers them ministers like himself, called by Christ to be part of the team and sent out by Him as ambassadors to the kingdom of the world.† To them (and to you) he says, don't misjudge or undervalue God's grace.† It was because He looked upon you with favor that God heard you and He helped you.† And listen, He is hearing you and helping you now!† God's grace doesn't come and go; it isn't given than then withdrawn.†
And you will need His grace and His help because sometimes ministry will seem overwhelmingly difficult.† Sometimes it will seem like you have been sent into the fray and then forgotten.† Sometimes it will seem like your communications just aren't getting through.† In fact, sometimes it will seem like your calling is nothing more than trouble and stress and thankless hard work.† And, in spite of all that, you are expected to respond to it all with godly understanding, endless patience, and pure kindness.† Well yeah, living for God is difficult . . .† What Paul paints here is a realistic picture of what ministry is like.† It's what Paul's ministry looked like.† And it's what Jesus' ministry looked like.† But the picture isn't painted entirely in shades of gray.† In the midst of difficulties and unfairness there is honor, praise, truth, perseverance, joy and sufficiency.†
As you join your fellow-workers in serving the cause of Christ here are some things you need to remember:
∑ It is still the time of God's favor.† God Almighty still hears you and helps you.† No matter how it seems, you are NOT alone.
∑ Christ has sent the Holy Spirit to guide you and enable you and He has fueled your ministry with a tank full of His love.† If you think about it, Jesus has given you the same tools that He used for ministry.
∑ You are supported in your work by the Word of God and the power of God, two weapons of righteousness that will always prevail.
So, whatever the world says or thinks or does, you can rejoice -- because the One you follow, the One you serve, has already overcome the world!
--- Pastor Keith Andrews