Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.
… the authority the Lord gave me (is) for building you up, not for tearing you down.
Paul boasts about his suffering for the Kingdom, and it’s quite a lot! Prison, flogged, close to death, scourged, beaten, stoned, shipwrecked, lost at sea. He had been in danger of rivers, bandits, Jews, Gentiles, in the city, in the country, at sea, from false brothers. He had gone without sleep, food, water, clothing. And then he says in verse 11, “Besides all this, there is the pressure of my concern for the church.” Paul’s work was birthed out of a love for Christ and a passion and concern for His church.
The pressure I feel for the well-being of the church is good. It is still pressure, though! It can take its toll… I’m encouraged that Paul described it and had this same/greater concern for the church. It was the capstone of his list of difficulties and pressures. When the pressure mounts and my concern for the church rises – even during those times when it is beyond manageable amounts – it will help me greatly to identify it for what it is – pressure. Then I can move forward serving Christ, even in the midst of the pressure. The temptation to relieve the pressure prematurely is wrong – I’d have to no longer care. To care and to serve is how to manage it and hone God in the process.
Father – May Your will be done here on earth as it is in heaven. Thank You for Your church. May it grow and reflect Jesus is my prayer, in His Name.