I have been challenged lately by the life and heart of the apostle Paul, and specifically in 2 Corinthians. What a minister (servant) He was!
In 2 Cor. 5, we read that he was a minister of the New Covenant, and an ambassador for Christ.
Note 2Cor. 6:3-11 NASB
giving no cause for offense in anything, so that the ministry will not be discredited, but in everything commending ourselves as servants of God, in much endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distresses, in beatings, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in hunger, in purity, in knowledge, in patience, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in genuine love, in the word of truth, in the power of God; by the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and the left, by glory and dishonor, by evil report and good report; regarded as deceivers and yet true; as unknown yet well-known, as dying yet behold, we live; as punished yet not put to death,
as sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as poor yet making many rich, as having nothing yet possessing all things.
Our mouth has spoken freely to you, O Corinthians, our heart is opened wide.
What an example Paul was for us. He relates even more hardships that he endured as Christ’s servant in 2Cor. 11:23-30.
Surely he imitated the greatest Servant of Jehovah, our Lord Jesus Christ (Isaiah 42:1). Christ, the Man of Sorrows, was the one who said “that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves” (John 17:13). None other went from such riches to such deep poverty, selling all that He had to purchase our redemption (2 Cor 8:9, Matt 13:46). Dying upon that tree, He owned nothing in this world naturally, but was the possessor of heaven and earth.
He told the Corinthians, ”you are in our hearts to die together and to live together” (2Cor 7:3 NASB).
Paul was willing to go through so much for the Corinthians, “though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved” (2 Cor 12:15).
His aim was the Lord’s glory, and his goal, the Lord’s commendation (2 Cor. 10:17-18).
After all, why glory in men, and why strive for the menial things of this life? For all things are yours (1 Cor 3:21-23). What a hope we have to look forward to as heirs with Christ! (Rom 8:17)
Paul gives us a high standard when he writes in Colossians 3:17, “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus…” Albert Barnes sums this up by saying,
His authority should be the warrant; His glory the aim of all our actions and words.
May each of us strive to be “a good minister of Jesus Christ” (2Tim. 4:6).