Today’s readings.. (Leviticus 12,13), (Psalm 113,114), (2 Corinthians 5,6,7)

The points Paul makes to the Corinthians in his 2nd letter are very thought provoking – but really Jesus made the same point – it all comes down to the fact that those who give minimal priority to genuine spiritual things have a different set of values from those who give them a high priority. In the outworking of those values in daily life it becomes clear (to God) what our main priorities are, what kind of path we are really treading in life.

Paul starts Chapter 6 by stating the obvious! “Working together with him …” (i.e. Christ and His Father). A picture of our teamwork with the divine; Paul had set the example. He then writes, “we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain.” They had received God’s grace, accepting his calling, but it could, in the end, be all in vain – just like most of those delivered from slavery in Egypt.

Paul then proceeds to pull together some intriguing word pictures – he draws the contrast between what a normal man sees – and what his eye of faith sees about the course his life is taking. He says, “In all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy.” [v.4] Life for Paul, humanly speaking, was very hard, there were many challenging situations, yet such was his spirituality that he was “overflowing with joy” despite the “beatings, imprisonments, riots, labours, sleepless nights, hunger …” [v.5]

Verse 10 tells us Paul was “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing.” There were spiritual joys which far outweighed his sorrows. “As poor, yet making many rich” It was James who wrote, “has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him?” {2 v.5] They show their love by their actions, not just in words John made this point, he wrote, “Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” [1 Jn 3 v.18]

Paul counted as nothing the material things this world could provide and which he no doubt had ‘enjoyed’ as a Pharisee. He told Timothy, “if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.” [1 Tim 6 v.8] He then sums up his whole attitude by telling the Corinthians (and his readers of every generation) – “as having nothing, yet possessing everything” Do you possess everything?


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