Today's Bible Reading: 2 Corinthians 2
Selected Biblical Text
12 Now when I went to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ and found that the Lord had opened a door for me, 13 I still had no peace of mind, because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I said goodbye to them and went on to Macedonia. 14 But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ's triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. 15 For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task? 17 Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God. (2 Cor. 2:12-17 NIV)
Reflecting and Thinking
Paul continues to explain his change of plans in today's reading and textual selection. In Troas he found an open door for the gospel and for that reason he delayed his journey. The challenges of ministry are often overwhelming -- relationships, opportunities, new contacts, people who accept the message and are saved, people who reject the message and are perishing. The challenge of proclaiming the knowledge of Him is ever before the church and its preachers. Did I adequately tell the story of Jesus? Did I communicate the glory of God? Did I focus on knowing Jesus, or only on knowing about him? Did I say something eternal or did I simply tickle ears? With Paul we exclaim, "Who is equal to such a task?"
Today's text brings to view a second aspect of ministry and Christian living. Why do we do what we do? What is our motivation? Paul makes clear that none of what he does is for his own benefit or profit as he serves and ministers. As Christians, our great longing is only to spread the knowledge of Jesus Christ in every place to every person. When others come to know Christ, victory follows by God's power.
Since Paul in this second letter to Corinth is explaining and defending his actions as an apostle, many of the natural applications of the text are about ministry. That does not mean that there is nothing in the text of value for the average Christian. What principles in today's text are especially meaningful to you? (For example, consider principles such as sincerity, being sent and placed by God, sharing knowledge, and the immensity of the challenge.) When have you felt especially triumphant in your Christian walk? When you have been aware of the victory? How could you bring those positive feelings to your life more often? What does God want you to do today?
Dear God, help me see the open doors you place before me today, and help me understand what you want me to do to serve others in the knowledge of Jesus. May I see and seize those opportunities. May my life reflect my knowledge of Jesus -- clearly showing that I know him in deep, personal relationship and not in merely superficial, external ways. Thank you for the victory you have given us in Jesus, we pray in His name, Amen.