“Word for Today” – 2 Corinthians 7 – www.concordialutheranchurch.com

March 6, 2009 at 5:45 am Leave a comment

apartment-1When Melody and I first moved to San Antonio, we decided to enlist an apartment finder to assist us in locating a new place.  When we came up one Saturday to look at some potential apartments with this apartment finder, the folks who assisted were fabulous.  Our representative was warm, thorough in her residency resources, and graciously willing to go above and beyond what was required of her to assist us.

Needless to say, we were thrilled with the service we received.  We thanked her profusely and when, a couple of weeks later, we found out that a friend of ours from out of town was moving to San Antonio as well and also looking for an apartment, we boisterously boasted about our apartment finder and heartily recommended them.  Our friend’s experience with this company, however, was not quite as remarkable as ours.  When we asked our friend how her apartment hunting went, she reported back, “Well, they seemed to be in a bit of a hurry and they weren’t all that interested in assisting me.  They were polite enough, they just didn’t help me find what I was looking for.”  In other words, in her charitable way, our friend was telling us that she did not have a good experience with the company that we had just so recently glowingly recommended.

Perhaps this has happened to you too.  You sing the praises of a company, a friend, a service, or a location, only to have a friend “try it out” on your recommendation and encounter a very different experience from yours.

In our text for today from 2 Corinthians 6, Paul makes a recommendation of sorts to a fellow pastor named Titus.  He recommends that Titus check out the Church at Corinth and boasts magnanimously about their ministry.  Thankfully, unlike our apartment finders, the Corinthians live up to their reputation, which Paul thanks them for in verses 13-14:  “We were especially delighted to see how happy Titus was, because his spirit has been refreshed by all of you.  I had boasted to him about you, and you have not embarrassed me.”

This is a slightly curious way to end a compliment to the Corinthians:  “I had boasted to him about you, and you have not embarrassed me.”  If Paul is so sure that the Corinthians are boast-worthy, why would he be worried about them embarrassing him and not living up to his glowing commendation?  The answer comes in what Paul has to address and confront in his first letter to the Corinthians:  sharp divisions (3:1-4), sexual immorality (5:1-5), a litigious culture (6:1-8), drunkenness at the Lord’s Supper (11:21), a misuse of spiritual gifts (14:26-33), and damnable false doctrine (15:12-19).  Such a squalid congregational resume is certainly nothing to boast about.  But even with such a sordid history, Paul still boasts in them.  Why?

In Hebrew, the word for “boast” is hallel.  Interestingly, this word is often used synonymously with the word batach, the Hebrew word for “trust.”  The implication is clear:  to “boast” in someone also means to “trust” in them.  Trust that they won’t disappoint you.  Trust that they’ll live up to your good word about them.  You see, Paul’s boast to Titus concerning the Corinthians isn’t based on an impressive resume, it’s based on Paul’s trust in them.  Paul, by his boasting, is implicitly trusting the Corinthians be who he says they are to be.

Much like Paul boasts in the Corinthians, we have a God who boasts in us.  “We are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:37).  “We can do everything through Christ who gives us strength” (Philippians 4:13).  We are “God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved” (Colossians 3:12).  These are some pretty impressive boasts!  But notice how each boast is rooted not in us, but in Christ.  We are conquerors through Christ.  We can do everything through Christ.  We are loved through Christ.  It is Christ who makes us boast-worthy.  And now, in his boasting, Christ is trusting us to be who he has made us to be.  And so, the question is: Will you be boast-worthy for Christ today?

Entry filed under: Word for Today.

“Word for Today” – 2 Corinthians 6 – www.concordialutheranchurch.com “Word for Today” – 2 Corinthians 8 – www.concordialutheranchurch.com

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