Monday, November 18
All the churches
Scripture: Psalm 124, 2 Corinthians 11-13
2 Corinthians 11:28-29 Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches. 29 Who is weak without my being weak? Who is led into sin without my intense concern?
Paul is defending his apostleship to the Corinthians, something he shouldn’t have to do since he brought the gospel to them and planted the church. In this passage, he lists his labors and suffering, and ends that list with these two verses. On top of all the physical suffering and dangers, he faces the daily pressure of concern for all the churches, and even feels it when individual believers are weak or sin.
What struck me was “concern for all the churches.” He not only carried this concern for the Corinthian church, but for all the churches, and he had started many!
We have 18 daughter and granddaughter churches. I feel concern for Life Center, and understandably that is my primary concern. Do I feel concern for each of our daughter churches? For the other Foursquare churches in the region for which I have oversight? For the other churches in town with whom I partner in the gospel? When I think of that, it feels overwhelming—and I have a whole new level of respect for Paul!
How did he do it? How can I do it? It starts with prayer. When you read Paul’s letters to churches, they all begin with prayer—he assures them that he is praying for them regularly. Then it extended to the letters—Paul’s way of communicating with them, counseling, correcting, advising, encouraging.
Today, I’ll pray for all the churches “on my watch.” Start there. Then give counsel as called for. And beyond that, I’ll ask the Lord to give me the same heart Paul had—a heart of genuine concern for all the churches.
Prayer: Lord, give me the same pastoral heart that Paul had, and help me to pray faithfully for all the churches.