When I think of the apostle Paul many things come to my mind. He was a trained Pharisee, had a miraculous conversion, was greatly used by God to spread the Gospel; he suffered greatly for the Kingdom, and he often did not receive the respect given to the other apostles.
The thing that stood out to me today about Paul is mentioned in 2 Cor. 12:14-15. That passage says,
“I don’t want what you have—I want you. After all, children don’t provide for their parents. Rather, parents provide for their children. I will gladly spend myself and all I have for you, even though it seems that the more I love you, the less you love me.”
Paul expresses the heart of a spiritual father in relation to the Corinthians. The Corinthian church had many problems. As their spiritual father, he addresses their sin and seeks to get them to live in harmony with God’s will, but he appears to be failing. Things were so bad in the Corinthian church that Paul states the following, a couple of verses later,
“For I am afraid that when I come I won’t like what I find, and you won’t like my response. I am afraid that I will find quarreling, jealousy, anger, selfishness, slander, gossip, arrogance, and disorderly behavior. Yes, I am afraid that when I come again, God will humble me in your presence. And I will be grieved because many of you have not given up your old sins. You have not repented of your impurity, sexual immorality, and eagerness for lustful pleasure.”
Paul longed to see his children in the faith own their faith and live it. His role in their lives was not always comfortable. He had to confront sin with them and challenge their disobedience. But, he did it as a loving dad who was grieved at what he saw in their lives. He also expressed what most dads would say about their children; his interest in them was not because he wanted their money or stuff. He wanted them because he loved them. He was ready and willing to give his life and all he had to their benefit. What a great dad!
Father, as great as Paul was, as a spiritual father to his converts, you are my spiritual Father. You love me more than I can ever imagine. You don’t want my “stuff” you want me! Help me to be faithful and live the way you desire so that you are not grieved when you look at my life like Paul was when he looked at the lives of the Corinthians.
Following Jesus with you,