2 Cor 6:4 But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, 5 In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings; 6 By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, 7 By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, 8 By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; 9 As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; 10 As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.
Many ministers in the US have it made. I must confess, I have it relatively cushy. For some of us American preachers there is more play than pray, more beach than preach. We spend more on one outfit of clothes than some men make in an entire year in a third world county. We seem to be off more than on. We visit the coffee shops more than we do the lost. While we sweat over grounds-keeping, unknown brothers continents away languish in prison for the faith. God, grant that our easy ministries find some modicum of approval in the heavens!
When rewards are passed around, we may well be surprised to see pastors of African churches, which meet under a tree, first in line for a crown. Persecuted believers, on earth praying for one day of relief from the heavy hand of despotic governments or intolerant religion, will experience such a vast difference of station in glory that heaven will be all that and more. Whereas, many of us easy-going believers, with our country club mentalities, will find heaven not that big of a deal. We have been enjoying our Utopian Nirvana already.
Please don't misunderstand, I am not asking for a tougher life, nor do I wish persecution on my family or my church. I enjoy the high life of the 2-percenters here in the good ol’ US of A. But I had better realize that to whom much is given, much is also required. That's why we pour our $$$ into missions. That's why we volunteer in civic and other organizations to help others. That's why we willingly do without many of the amenities so that we can travel to see and assist these believers who know too well penury and persecution. And yet, we seek no other approval than the Master's.
Paul sets forth his case for being approved of God, and, a convincing case it is!
*in much patience,
*by the Holy Ghost,
*by love unfeigned,
*by the word of truth,
*by the power of God,
*by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left,
*by honour and dishonour,
*by evil report and good report:
*as deceivers, and yet true;
*as unknown, and yet well known;
*as dying, and, behold, we live;
*as chastened, and not killed;
*as sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing;
*as poor, yet making many rich;
*as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.
Yes, Paul and his cohorts are deserving of any accolade man could bestow. And, I am sure Heaven will be kind in its appreciation of their labors. I just hope I am not so far removed from the emerald throne that I cannot see his rewards conferred.