“whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away” (2 Cor. 3:16).
I find this really counterintuitive and powerful. Here they were week after week hearing the Bible. And they are totally blind to the meaning. I would assume that they needed the veil taken away and THEN they turn to the Lord. But not so.
Instead, the Lord wants them to turn to Him in submitting their will to Him…AND THEN the veil is taken away. I think this one truth has so much power for those who are willing to grasp it.
2 Cor. 8 has also especially spoken to me in 2 ways:
- “they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability” (8:3) – here Paul commends them for giving even beyond what they could. This has challenged me to be more generous with my time and money.
- “if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have” (8:12) – I think this helps temper 8:3. It shows that it ultimately is not enough to just want to be generous (especially if you don’t have the means). Some people are going into debt to be “generous”, and I really think that is unwise. “Owe no man anything except to love one another” (Rom 13). Instead, give according to what you have. If you’ve been a good giver (which can include being a saver–think of Joseph), God will give you more to give even more to others: “You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.” (2 Cor. 9:11)
10:17-18- “Let the one who boast, boast in the Lord. For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved but the one whom the Lord commends.”
Love this- we have nothing on our own to boast in. I read this before going into work and immediately started to feel myself relax. It also convicted me because I was reminded how many days I often try to do my work and life on my own strength. In the end, if it’s on my own strength he does not get the glory.
In a similar vein I think we often think of Paul as the “super apostle” and in so many was and it’s good to emulate him. Part of his strength was his ability to admit his weakness.
11:30 “if I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.”
12:10 “for when I am weak, then I am strong.”
-Brian Holda and Matt Lantz