Today’s Reading: 2 Corinthians 9-13
Today’s Reflection: 2 Corinthians 9:1-4
1) Now it is superfluous for me to write to you about the ministry for the saints, 2) for I know your readiness, of which I boast about you to the people of Macedonia, saying that Achaia has been ready since last year. And your zeal has stirred up most of them. 3) But I am sending the brothers so that our boasting about you may not prove empty in this matter, so that you may be ready, as I said you would be. 4) Otherwise, if some Macedonians come with me and find that you are not ready, we would be humiliated—to say nothing of you—for being so confident.
Paul’s affection and respect for the church at Corinth was well known, even despite the chastening and correction in his letters to them. Today’s text makes it clear he was not just concerned about the members of the church growing into disciples (or saints as he addresses them), but about their ability to minister to others and lead them to become disciples as well. To this end Paul sends an envoy to Corinth to ensure they are ready for the task ahead of them and will provide a good witness to the people of Macedonia, one up to the accounts they have heard.
Essentially Paul was giving the church at Corinth an instruction: be ready.
And this idea of being ready to minister and receive those seeking the Gospel has been an ongoing theme all throughout the life of the body of Christ. In Acts we see that it was after the apostles and disciples came together in one accord that God added new converts to their numbers (Acts 2:42-47). There’s no point leading people seeking salvation through Jesus and the grace of God to people who don’t understand or live this truth themselves, no matter how religious they may appear. Jesus warned the Pharisees that their faithless witness and teaching the doctrines of men rather than God were actually leading their converts further from the kingdom of God.
Matthew 23:15 – Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.
The Pharisees felt ready to make disciples, but their agenda was to have people follow them and their traditions, not for people to come to know the God they claimed. In order to serve and build up the kingdom of God we must be submitted to the truth of the Gospel and be true disciples of Jesus, following wherever Jesus leads. Then we must be ready to provide a faithful and true witness and have the desire to disciple others. And the need for this should be clear in these last days.
John 10:16 – And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.
The question we must each ask ourselves about the churches we belong to is this: if God called us to become the spiritual home for new believers, to nurture and disciple them so they could grow in Christ, would we be ready?