St Paul had a difficult relationship with the Corinthian Christians. By the time he wrote this, he had visited them twice, and in 2 Corinthans indicates that he intends visiting them a third time. He has had to defend his character against misunderstanding and criticism. Some have questioned his authority to teach, while others did not like the way he speaks and writes. He freely admits his own imperfections, suggesting that he is only a “clay jar” holding the treasure of God. His task is to point beyond himself: “we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus' sake” (2 Cor 4:5)
Subsequent history of our faith has seen people in Christian leadership criticised, attacked and vilified. So if we who follow Jesus today find ourselves criticised and unappreciated by church people, we are in good company! Paul was clear – renounce shameful things; proclaim Jesus, and do not give up. Do not be put off by the criticism of other Christians, but rather allow the life of Jesus to be visible in our bodies.
Prayer: Dear Lord, help me to resist the temptation to attack those who criticise me. Instead may I step back and allow you to shine through my words and actions. Amen.
“The Call to Ministry”
(Scripture reference page 65 A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and other Servants)