2Co 10:14-16 “For we stretch not ourselves beyond our measure, as though we reached not unto you: for we are come as far as to you also in preaching the gospel of Christ: Not boasting of things without our measure, that is, of other men’s labours; but having hope, when your faith is increased, that we shall be enlarged by you according to our rule abundantly, To preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man’s line of things made ready to our hand.”
As a general rule, we do not like for people to meddle in our affairs. We strongly resist what we perceive as overreaching by our government. We tend to avoid gossipy neighbors. Rebellion is often the result of our feeling like others are reaching beyond their measure.
At the same time, we must realize that there are certain authorities in our lives that are there for our benefit. Even though we might rebel against our parent’s rule at times as we grow up, most of us ultimately realize they were exercising their rightful authority because they could be held responsible for our actions. They were also looking out for us in the future so we would know how to live when we were no longer under their direct control. Their rule was born of love and concern.
In this vein, Paul is reminding the church at Corinth that he and those ministers with him were not overstepping their bounds. Paul was very much involved in their life as it affected the church and deemed that he had that responsibility from God. His reason for feeling the weight of that so strongly was in the fact that God sent them to Corinth before any others came. It was Paul and his companions who first brought the gospel of Christ to them.
He was careful to note that he was not building on someone else’s labors. He was the one the Spirit had sent to them. He was the one who had born affliction and imprisonment in order to bring the word of God to them. As God had called him and sent him to them, he felt a great responsibility for their spiritual welfare. Also, he had a great hope for their help in furthering the gospel.
It is important to know the right time to expect things to happen. Paul confessed a great confidence that the church at Corinth would assist him in spreading the gospel beyond their borders. However, he realized they were not ready yet: their faith needed to be increased. Much harm can come from expecting someone to perform an act for which they are not yet ready.
Paul was not asking them to do something before they were ready. He was sharing with them a vision of what they would be able to do after their faith was increased. We are often encouraged in our lives to continue to press on in some labor when we are able to envision what the end goal is. Here, the goal was for their faith to increase until the influence of the gospel overflowed in their lives and began to reach those beyond their borders.
Paul was not trusting in the work of men to accomplish this. He did not intend to build on the flesh or to claim the efforts of others. His sole purpose was to spread the gospel of Christ. He was determined for the churches to understand that they had a role in the spreading of this gospel by walking in faith and bearing witness to the effects of the gospel in their lives.
May God bless us today with an increase of faith such that it overflows into the world around us, that we honor Him who has authority over us, and the gospel is spread beyond our personal borders!