2 Corinthians 12:12-19
In this passage, Paul speaks of his desire to “spend and be spent” for the Christians he most likely led to Christ and saw grow in the Lord. By the time of the writing of 2 Corinthians, Paul’s motives, as well as his apostleship, are being called into question by those whom he loved. Nevertheless, Paul still desires to labor among them and give of himself to them for the purpose of furthering the cause of Christ.
When you serve the Lord in any capacity in your local church, there will be times when you feel as though your investment in others seems underappreciated and even taken for granted. But as Paul shows us by example that a lasting, spiritual investment in others requires a willingness to die to self, to spend and be spent, to love in return for little or no love.
How can you and I keep a right spirit when investing in others?
1. Don’t Be Divided By Who Gets the Credit
This church that Paul gave birth to doubted his ministry, his apostleship, and his authority. In 1 Corinthians 4:15, he is even referred to as their spiritual “father.” But in spite of this, Paul reminds them in 1 Corinthians 3:6-7 that it is God Who gives the increase.
A person who is interested in making a lasting investment in others will not be concerned with who gets the credit for his efforts, only that God is glorified.
2. Don’t Be Deterred By a Lack of Growth
Our text is Paul’s second letter to the church at Corinth, and he is planning his third trip to see them. One would think that with this much contact with the Apostle Paul, a church should not be dealing with problems such as the church at Corinth was dealing with. Certainly, the church was guilty of gross, wicked sin; but Paul was not willing to “throw them away.” His desire to continue to invest in them was abundant. I’m not suggesting that we do not deal with sin. Paul confronted the sin AND the sinner in these two letters, and we should as well. The point is that the sin problems of the Christians in Corinth did not deter Paul’s desire to see God do a work in their lives.
3. Don’t Be Discouraged By a Rejection of Your Love
“Though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.” If you work with people or if you love people, you know rejection. No doubt, if you are reading this article, you have a spiritual desire to help people in their walk with the Lord. But just because we have a sincere desire does not mean our efforts will always be sincerely received. Do not be discouraged when some reject your desire to see them grow, though you desire their growth even more than they desire to see themselves grow. Jesus said of the Jews in Matthew 23:37,
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!”
Our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, faced the greatest rejection this world has ever given out, yet He willingly offers salvation to “whosoever will.”
Let us continue making investments in others for the cause of Christ.
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Jason Atwood grew up in the Corpus Christi, Texas area, and in November 2006, Pastor Atwood was called to be the first pastor of Heritage Baptist Church of Corpus Christi. The church was meeting in a small one-bedroom house. God blessed, and they moved to a new 5-acre site to allow continued growth. In 2019, God led Pastor Atwood to join our staff. He is a tremendous help to Pastor Trieber in both the church and the college ministry. He is married to Aimee, and they have three boys — Will, Connor, and Jack.