The other day I was reading in 2 Corinthians and came across a passage that seemed to jump off the page, grab me by my shoulders and look straight into my soul. I was so challenged by it, that it has resonated with me all weekend.
Ever experience those moments?
God’s Word has that uncanny ability, and when these moments occur I can’t help but take notice and look for the life lesson. I was reading in 2 Corinthians, chapter three, where Paul was telling the church of Corinth that there was no need for his ministry to have a formal letter of recommendation, because they were his letter of recommendation: A living letter, not written on paper but on the hearts of men.
What struck me was his comment in verse three where He says, “…and you show them that you are a letter from Christ, delivered by us, written not with ink but by the Holy Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts.”
I’ve seen this passage many times, but it hadn’t resonated with me until today. So, what is he talking about being a “letter from Christ”? Different commentaries on this passage talk about actual forms of recommendations that would be required to legitimize teachers and ministers in the early church, much like minister ordination requirements today. The idea was to weed out any false prophets and teachers, and to protect the church.
The people Paul ministered to, and the life change they experienced, was his letter of recommendation. He didn’t need a piece of paper authenticating his ministry. It was evident in the lives of those he served.
I found myself reading Paul’s words again, and thinking: Who are the “living letters” of recommendation in my own ministry and how would they read? It made me stop and think about the way I minister, and challenged me to focus on the core of what ministry is really about; to serve others with the love of Christ.
In whatever capacity you are ministering; wife, mother, father, brother, sister, mentor, husband, teacher, pastor, writer, speaker, author, artist, employee…what would your “living letters” say? A great challenge for us all today.