Reading Through the Bible, Monday, November 28. 2 Corinthians 10 – 12

For the sheer volume of his writings, and the success God gave him in establishing churches throughout Europe in the first century, the apostle Paul is regarded as the greatest of the apostles. Itís difficult to believe that anyone could turn on him and deliberately undertake to destroy his reputation, but that is precisely what some of the Christians in Corinth were doing.
In this letter, his most personal of all the letters, Paul opens his heart to this church.
* ìIf we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation,î he writes (1:6).
* He writes to let them know ìthe depth of [his] loveî for them (2:4).
* In chapter 11 he writes ìGod knowsî I love you (verse 11).
* At the end of the book, he writes plaintively: ìSo I will very gladly spend for you everything I have and expend myself as well. If I love you more, will you love me less?î
But make no mistake. Paulís love is not that of an irresponsible parent who is afraid to take charge of his wayward children lest they not like him more. He is coming to Corinth, and when he arrives, he will deal with the opposition and punish every act of disobedience.
Church leadership is the most difficult of leadership, and also the most important. Leaders must be worthy of the respect due them, not just because they are leaders, but because their lives are exemplary in and of themselves. They are able to lead because those they lead feel known and loved. They know their leaders have their best interests at heart, and will sacrifice themselves for those they are leading. Leaders inspire others to follow, they donít have to command it. Throughout this letter, Paul has, reluctantly, given the evidence that he is that kind of leader. And when he arrives in Corinth, he will deal with those who dared to divide his family ñ Godís family. Like parents, sometimes church leaders have to do the very difficult task of being candid and frank. Does it hurt? Yes, but such parenting is critical for the health of the family ñ especially the family of God.