“O ye Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged” (2 Cor 6:11). This verse is the thrust of the epistle, for here, Paul laid open his heart for all to see. He was not an unmoved, straight-jacket theologian, but a caring Apostle who dearly loved the flock of God.
First, consider who the objects of Paul’s affections were. They were none other than the Corinthian Christians. The city of Corinth was well-known for being the centre of sexual promiscuity and wanton behaviour. Nevertheless, God saved some in this city of debauchery, calling some out of darkness into His marvellous light.
Sadly, while the church may have grown in numbers, they were struggling spiritually. There was a carnal and sectarian spirit in the church. When the Apostle Paul tried to correct them on certain issues, they treated him dishonourably.
Having gone through such painful rejection, Paul could have chosen to shut up and keep quiet. But he did not turn away from the petulant Corinthian Christians. Paul’s love for Christ and God’s people compelled him to continue reaching out to the Corinthian Christians. Thus, he continued to speak freely and affectionately to the Corinthians, opening his heart to them in love.
On the other hand, the Corinthians were slow to respond in the same way to Paul. Thus, Paul pointed out that they were not to be straitened with respect to him and his associates. The term “straitened” (stenochoreisthe) has the idea of narrowness, and is the opposite of “enlarged” (platunō). Paul was asking the Corinthians to show the same affection to him, just as he strove to show them affection. The desire is for an open honest relationship among God’s people.
In application, how is your relationship with your pastor? Let there be genuine affection and love between pastor and the flock of God.
THOUGHT: What is the joy of every faithful pastor?
PRAYER: Father, teach me to love my church leaders and Thy people.