My grace is sufficient for you

And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches. — 2 Corinthians 11:28

Last summer, I read this chapter of 2 Corinthians. I remember, I was riding in a taxi in Seoul. Verse 28 hit me. It never hit me before. Why then? Because I knew exactly what Paul was talking about when he wrote about “the daily pressure and anxiety” he had for the church. Never had that verse been so real to me as it was in that season of my life, wondering how everyone back home was doing, especially at church.

Interesting how I’ve been going through 2 Corinthians again and that I read this verse again last week. Because it is one way I can explain to myself and others why today I broke down just as I was about to deliver the sermon. A mix of burden, guilt, sadness, weakness, and brokenness became too overwhelming. And the foundation of it all, I think, was this anxiety and pressure that comes from having pastoral responsibility.

Paul, just before this, writes his formidable list of all the trials he has experienced: beatings, floggings, stonings, imprisonment, shipwreck, continual danger and threat from enemies, hunger and thirst, and loneliness. Yet he caps his list with this…the daily pressure and anxiety over the churches he had planted. There was a constant burden on his heart for his flock, if they were doing okay, if they were growing spiritually, if leaders were being accountable, if the testimony of the death and resurrection of Christ were being proclaimed, if any enemies had snuck in and tried to subvert the ministry. I think very few people outside of the pastorate know what it’s like to have this feeling, this burden. I think more believers should try to understand the agony and burden their pastors carry and deal with week after week for the sake of their flock. It is no joke.

“Who is weak, and I am not weak?” Paul writes next in verse 29. This is the context in which we find the famous verse, “‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Cor 12:9). This was the great apostle, devoted follower and bondservant of Christ: Paulus, “the little one,” his name literally meant. The one of whom his enemies said, “his bodily presence is weak, and his speech of no account” (1 Cor 10:10). The meek, gentle, and humble leader. God used him in such a mighty way. Man, that gives me hope.

In the midst of weakness, the Lord has done some crazy things in my life and those close to me recently to show me that God does not forget those who follow after Him. God does reward those who seek after Him, His kingdom, and His righteousness. May all the glory be to Him and Him alone, forever and ever. Amen.

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