We Just Want Dessert
In life we tend to want what we want. What I mean is, we really just want life to be exactly the way we want it to be all the time. Its as if we want everything we eat to taste like dessert and satisfy like steak and make us feel good like exercise. For some reason we think that is our right. We don't see how utterly unnatural that is. Even in the pre-fall Creation there was a limit to what Adam and Eve could have. Isn't it interesting that the serpent had to talk Eve into her rebellion? Do you think we would need as much convincing? Or would we immediately yell back in God's face, "What do you mean I can't have it?"
I'm afraid many in ministry, especially young'uns like me, get the idea that because we are serving Him and sacrificing ourselves in serving the church that God really owes it to us to have a charmed life. If I'm faithful in serving him shouldn't everything always work out the way I want it to? Shouldn't the money always be there, our leadership always be faithful, and strangers always respond to the Gospel? The problem is there is no such promise.
I found a commentary on 2 Corinthians on sale. The introduction outlines a theory about Paul's interaction with the church at Corinth. I hadn't thought about the story much from Paul's perspective before. Here was a church that he had helped start at great personal risk and cost. He had spent time with its people, mentored some of its leaders, and taught them the great truths of Christ. But in his absence there was disunity, power struggles, sexual immorality, attacks against Paul's character, laziness, and on and on. Its probable that Paul had even gone to try to personally address the situation, but was sent packing by his rivals. After some order had been restored Paul wrote 2 Corinthians. With these probabilities in mind it is easy to hear the heartache, passion, and almost frantic urgency that Paul writes with.
After only 30 or so years after Jesus' resurrection, the churches were full of turmoil. People fell shamefully short of the standards set by Christ. Even Paul made mistakes. The inspiring thing is, in spite of all of it they went on. The church grew and spread. It impacted the culture, preserved its teachings, excelled in scholarship and art (for a time). Today we may wish that churches and ministries were an endless buffet of desserts and delicacies, but the truth is until Christ returns we're still all eating out of the dumpster. That means you have to work hard to get at the good stuff. And even the good stuff might be a little tainted. Still, its the only taste of heaven we can get. At least we know the truth and have a hope for the future. As far as unbelievers know, this is as good as it gets.