you are our letter

Read 2 Corinthians 3:1-6.

When I was a child, my father managed a DX service station. For a time, DX’s marketing slogan was “Known by the customers we keep.” It was a way of saying, “Our loyal customers are incontrovertible testimony to the integrity and quality of our service. As you trust them, you will come to trust us.”

My father was the very embodiment of that mentality in the way he operated his business. He did little advertising, save for some regular spots on the local radio station. He relied instead on the reputation he built with those he served through his consistent, hard work and individual attention to customer care. When he retired, you would not be surprised to learn that a great percentage of his customers had been loyal to him for the entirety of the thirty-five years he was in business. He had not merely been in the business of selling gasoline; he had been in the people-business.

What the apostle Paul is saying here is something like that. Those who were his adversaries in Corinth carried with them impressive, written commendations from others; such credentials Paul could not produce for himself. To those looking only at the surface of things, Paul looked like a a second-rate hack compared to the sleek, fine cruisers these opponents of his appeared to be. But he appeals to their memory of his service to them and with them and says, “You yourselves are our letter.” (vs.2)

Heavenly Father, ever remind me, particularly when my hands are dirty with apparently mundane details, that my ministry in your Son’s name is the most vital of all people-business. The message I share of your Son, the methods I use to work out the life of your Son in my own life, and the means by which I do both, your Spirit is using to write eternal things on people’s hearts. Help me to ever do good work. May I never concern myself much with what I appear to be in comparison to others, but what I am in reality before you and in how I deal with people. In the name of him who purposed my life and empowers me, I pray. Amen.

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