Read 2 Corinthians 12:11-18.
Hoodwinked by charlatans claiming to be “apostles” and superior in authority and ability to Paul, the Corinthian church had begun to snub Paul. They had opted for “flash” over their spiritual father and founder. Here in this passage (2 Cor. 12:11-18), Paul “lets it all hang out” with the Corinthians as to just how foolish he perceives all of this mess to be. He lovingly rebukes them as he chides them in having them recall that quite unlike the charlatans that have captured their hearts, he didn’t make his ministry revolve around money. Souls are what matters to Paul, not stuff, and the Corinthians should know that.
“… what I want is not your possessions but you.” (vs.14)
In saying such, Paul reminds us of the center of genuine ministry. It’s about God and people, not gold and possessions. It’s all about humble service, not honorary status. It’s about using what God has given you to bless others, not using others to bless yourself. You would think such things would be obvious, but, like the Corinthians, I see many Christians and many churches often miss the obvious and wind up serving the creation rather than the Creator, all in the name of Christ.
Honestly, what do you want most out of a church? If a true apostle said it out loud before all, what would he say? What are we truly looking for most in our relationship with God? If an assessment of it was written down by someone spiritually mature and flawless in judgment, what would they write? What does my ministry look like? If the Spirit of God revealed the reality of it all, or the lack thereof, what would the Spirit of God reveal?
Here’s the bottom line – what comes first in your life, desires, imaginations and expectations connected with church, spirituality and religion – possessions or people? Not in theory, but in practice. Don’t answer too quickly. Do what Paul was calling these Christians to do – to honestly think it over.
God my Heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus, do deliver me and all your people from the abundant, convenient deceptions of Satan. Move me to constantly re-examine my life lived out in your Son’s name and may I ever find myself directed and re-directed to your true heart of ministry. May flash never distract my eyes from you, Father. Amen.