Yet, crafty fellow that I am, I caught you by trickery! Did I exploit you through any of the men I sent to you? I urged Titus to go to you and I sent our brother with him. Titus did not exploit you, did he? Did we not walk in the same footsteps by the same Spirit? Have you been thinking all along that we have been defending ourselves to you? We have been speaking in the sight of God as those in Christ; and everything we do, dear friends, is for your strengthening.
Thoughts for Today:On one of my recent medical/evangelical mission trips to China, I spoke with a village leader who was a non-believer. He was highly critical and suspicious of our purpose. He said to me, "You people are not really generous. You're just trying to convert us to your way of thinking." I said, "We're going to heal your sick and then go home. I'm certainly willing to share the reason we came here with anyone who would like to know, but what possible benefit could I personally gain by converting your people to my way of thinking?" He grunted something unintelligible, and then folded his arms and watched me carefully as I shared the Gospel with anyone willing to listen.
Two hours later, the leader approached me again and asked, "Tell me your story. Why are you really here?" I shared with him how God's love had saved me and changed my life, and then I said, "But, the real story is about Jesus -- how much God loves us and wants us to know Him. Let me tell you about Him, and then you can decide for yourself."
In our passage today, Paul is dealing with some of the same type of criticism and suspicion that oftentimes come in opposition when we do the work God has called us to perform. Paul said, "We're not tricky, and we have no ulterior motive. We simply want to be a blessing to you." The world will always think that Christians have a political or financial agenda. They ask, "What are you trying to accomplish -- take over our government or get rich?" The answer is neither. We simply want people next door, or anywhere in the world, to have the opportunity to know Jesus. And then be encouraged in their faith so they can do well in the Lord.
Questions to Ponder:The leader of the village in China accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior that day. God is always at work to bring His message of peace, love, forgiveness and offer of reconciliation to a lost world. Will you join Him now? Who can you share Jesus with today?