“For our boasting is this: the testimony of our conscience that we conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God, and more abundantly toward you.” (2 Corinthians 1:12 NKJV)
As Paul continued dealing with those crazy Corinthians, he reminded them that when he lived among them, he lived among them. He didn’t set himself apart. He didn’t rent the big mansion on the hillside with armed guards for security. He lived among them living like they did. He lived a simple life and showed them how they could live that life with godly sincerity and be a witness of God’s grace toward others around them. I can’t help but wonder that Paul might have been answering criticism that his ministry wasn’t valid because God must not have been blessing. The rest of the chapter deals with suffering and afflictions. How could God be in Paul’s ministry if he was going through so much affliction. Even more so, Publius has his own private, golden chariot that he keeps on his huge galley so he can travel to share the message of God without having to deal with people.
True, most of that is my speculation, and it may be a bit exaggerated, but we see the same attitude among some people today. There are some who claim to preach the gospel who need private jets so they don’t have to interact with “those” kinds of people. There are those who live in exquisite mansions with security to protect all their worldly goods. We look down on pastors of smaller churches because we seem to believe that if they were right with God, He’d be blessing them better. Paul would shake his head sadly and tell us that we just don’t get it. The power of God isn’t seen in the accumulation of wealth and isolation from people; the power of God is seen in the relationships we build and how willingly we give to further His kingdom. Whenever we make the gospel about us, our comfort, or our glory – we aren’t proclaiming God’s gospel of grace. The gospel isn’t a “quid pro quo” situation where if we do certain things, God will bless us in certain ways. The gospel should lead us to complete surrender and trust in God to provide for our daily needs.
Lord, remind me that it’s all about You. Give me the grace and wisdom to walk in this world like Jesus did showing Your love to all people. Help me to be accessible so that I can touch the lives of others.