2 Corinthians 11:23-33 23 Are they ministers of Christ? I’m speaking like a crazy person. What I’ve done goes well beyond what they’ve done. I’ve worked much harder. I’ve been imprisoned much more often. I’ve been beaten more times than I can count. I’ve faced death many times. 24 I received the “forty lashes minus one” from the Jews five times. 25 I was beaten with rods three times. I was stoned once. I was shipwrecked three times. I spent a day and a night on the open sea. 26 I’ve been on many journeys. I faced dangers from rivers, robbers, my people, and Gentiles. I faced dangers in the city, in the desert, on the sea, and from false brothers and sisters. 27 I faced these dangers with hard work and heavy labor, many sleepless nights, hunger and thirst, often without food, and in the cold without enough clothes.
28 Besides all the other things I could mention, there’s my daily stress because I’m concerned about all the churches. 29 Who is weak without me being weak? Who is led astray without me being furious about it? 30 If it’s necessary to brag, I’ll brag about my weaknesses. 31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, the one who is blessed forever, knows that I’m not lying. 32 At Damascus the governor under King Aretas was guarding the city of Damascus in order to capture me, 33 but I got away from him by being lowered in a basket through a window in the city wall.
Bragging: I am sure we have all done it in one way or the other. Usually it is a list of achievements and honors you have gained or an accomplishment one may have attained. Certainly in the Roman culture this would have been the case. In fact it was a standard practice to be showy and list all of his achievements. In Paul's letter he was talking to the church leaders that were heading in that same direction. So Paul lists all of his achievements; however, they were all things any normal person would have been ashamed to admit or mention voluntarily.
Roman culture was not radically different from ours. “Monuments, civic buildings and other sites bore inscriptions praising wealthy donors; civic assemblies featured the voices of the powerful; public culture revolved around power. Boasting in weakness challenged the very values on which most boasts were founded. Yet Paul saw them as valuable to boast upon because they came about because of the Good News of Jesus Christ. Paul stood the cultural values of the time, and I would say today within the church, on its head to live the upside down life. ( I believe it is the right side up life and the world has it upside down but...) So the question begs: What do you boast upon in your life? How can Jesus rework your values to conform with heavenly standards? Hope to see you later this morning... God Bless.
Lord God Almighty, please continue to rework my life to see more clearly the Kingdom your Son taught. Help me to separate the world and Your will from each other. Father, forgive me of my sins and lead me to a better place. Thank you for the blessings I have been given in fellowship with others and the bountiful harvest that I have enjoyed. May I be a blessing to Your Word and use it to learn and glorify Your name. I pray this and all things in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Meet the pastor
Rev. Pastor Carl Schreiber has been serving East Orrington Congregational Church (EOCC) since March 12, 2006