Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Not As Lords

II Corinthians 1:23-2:4

I ordered a website information package to see if it was something I would be interested in. When I received the information, I was concerned by a statement that if I didn’t call and cancel my website by a certain day, I would be billed about seventy dollars per month for the website. That seemed a little dishonest to me, but I spent a little time checking out the offer anyway.

A few days later, I received a call from their office and several questions were answered, convincing me that it might still be a good choice. I was transferred to another person to “help” me get started. He presented me with a couple of options to help build traffic to the site. The prices he quoted were more than I was willing to spend without testing to see if the program was practical in my situation.

The sales person became very insistent, telling me how much I would regret not taking the upgrades and what a great opportunity I was missing. He was almost demanding that I borrow $8,000 dollars to buy the upgrade because he said I should. He definitely implied that to refuse would be one of the stupidest things I could do. He totally ignored the fact that I was the one who had to live with the consequences. If I didn’t buy, I was the one who missed out if it worked, but if I bought it and it didn’t work out, I was the one who would have to pay the eight thousand dollars. That would mean that not only would I lose the money, but I would be less able to take other opportunities.

He was insistent that I make a decision immediately. I did. I decided that if I couldn’t be allowed to check out the offer more carefully before deciding, I didn’t trust it. He got even more insistent, and I decided I wouldn’t be interested at all. He was not trying to help me, but trying to get what he wanted, his commission.

While Paul had desired to go to Corinth, He did not want to put them under pressure to do what he thought was best. They were the ones who must live with the results of their actions. As a result, he delayed his coming, to give them time to decide what to do and implement the things he had already shared.

“Moreover I call God for a record upon my soul, that to spare you I came not as yet unto Corinth. Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand.” (II Corinthians 1:23-24)

Paul says that he, as an apostle, does not have dominion over their faith. They don’t answer to him. Peter, in his instructions to church leaders, is very clear that they are not to lord it over the people in I Peter 5:1-3. “The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.

This is also the instruction Jesus gave the disciples in Matthew 20:25-28. “But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many."

Paul was concerned that because of who he was, they might begin to do what he said without concern for what God had said. He was not to be a dictator, but a helper, an example, just as Christ was not a dictator to his disciples, meeting the needs of others, even to the point of washing their feet, and dying for them.

His writing in I Corinthians was with concern that they not do it because of his direction but that they understood it as God’s plan. He did not want them to be hurt by his comments, but encouraged to apply what he instructed. The first letter gave them freedom to act to correct problems, without undue pressure. So that when he came both he and they could rejoice in his coming.

"But I determined this with myself, that I would not come again to you in heaviness. For if I make you sorry, who is he then that maketh me glad, but the same which is made sorry by me? And I wrote this same unto you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow from them of whom I ought to rejoice; having confidence in you all, that my joy is the joy of you all. For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you.” (II Corinthians 2:1-4)

No comments:

Post a Comment