2 Corinthians 11:23-29 (KJV)
Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.
Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.
Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;
In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;
In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.
Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.
Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not?
It is fascinating what Apostle Paul considered proofs of his ministry:
Pastor Dwight Tomlinson preached recently at our church. Brother Tomlinson is the founder of Barnabas 10/40, a missionary ministry. In speaking about suffering he explained how most Christians of the world don’t think like Americans. They expect suffering, even jail, to be par for the Christian course. They think of jail time as nearly a part of Christian testing, especially for pastors. Paul obviously thought similarly.
This wasn’t “hands on” physical caring for buildings (they didn’t have them) or persons (he was away from them) this was care of the heart and soul. I imagine it was most clearly manifested in prayer.
Paul allowed himself to feel what they felt. He rejoiced when they rejoiced, he wept when they wept.
The proof of ministry is not:
- the ordination paper,
- the size of the congregation or
- the number of professions of faith one records
The proof of ministry is in the passion for Christ and for those God allows him to shepherd.
To my readers:
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2 Corinthians 11:23-29 The Proof of Ministry
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