Paul in these chapters is “under attack,” having had himself and his ministry be falsely accused. People didn’t understand Paul and accused him of many things. It must have been discouraging however he keeps on giving to them. He will gladly give everything he has, and even expend himself (v. 15). Everything he does, he says, is for the strengthening of the Corinthians (v. 19).
Even though he has given so much and given of himself, Paul still faces grief at the continued sin in the lives of the Corinthians (v. 21).
I really admire Paul’s strength. This year many of the devotional readings have reflected Paul’s strength, devotion and closeness to Christ. In thinking about Paul, I believe that’s his secret; he is able to carry on in the face of adversity because he loves Jesus so much. Paul suffered a lot physically for the Lord. He was given some sort of “thorn in the flesh,” which causes him some sort of pain that he asked God to be delivered from. People falsely accused him and some who at first listened to the gospel decided to return to their old ways.
Recently I went on a quiet day. I had the unique experience, after praying (i.e telling God my troubles) of taking a walk and just enjoying God’s company. I am suddenly reminded of Paul’s words to the Philippians, that he wanted the fellowship of sharing in Christ’s sufferings (Phil. 3:10). In going through what he did for Christ’s church, Paul is being brought close to Christ, and that is Paul’s goal and the reason he can give himself to the church. May we, like Paul, want to know Christ and so ask for strength to do the tasks He gives us.