13. a. through his concern, as a parent: not wanting from them, but for them with a tough love allowing for disappointment
b. He wants the best for them and grieves that they may not be living the lives they should – still committed to sin
c. By pointing out Christ’s strength, not his own. By encouraging them to examine themselves. Not for proof of Paul, but for proof of Christ in them – for the truth
14. Too often we aim to be better than most, not perfection. We talk more than listen. We divide to show how we are better or more knowledgeable and we live with confrontation and division, not peace. Way better!
I love Paul’s response to the demand for proof of his authenticity. I’m reading and interesting book called Money Ball about how the advent of computers and statistics is changing the way baseball is managed, at least in some clubs. You might think at first that book is way in left field compared to what we are studying with Paul (get it: left field). But, here is the deal. Baseball has always had stats and teams paid attention to them. They paid attention to how fast someone could run a fifty yard dash. How fast someone could throw a fast ball. The players batting average or RBIs. But what the book talks about was a focus only on the stats that make a difference in correlation to the actual desired outcome: scoring more points than the other team.
Paul took the same approach. You want proof? OK, forget all the letters and credentials and degrees and measurements of height and who has the best hair. What is our real desired outcome? To see Christ in your life, saving you, changing you, making a difference. Did you get that? Good, then there you go.
But we do the same things in our churches. Our food ministry measures how many pounds of food we deliver, not how many people that has given us an opportunity to talk with about God. Our youth pastors are recognized for how many hours of service projects they coordinate, not how much of a difference they are making in teaching youth how to stay connected to the church and to serve from the heart. I work in management so I understand the purpose of objective measurements, but, like the Corinthians, I think we can get so focused on the measurements that we lose sight of the real desired outcome.