Friday, October 2, 2009

Make room! (II Cor. 7)

One of the wealthiest men in America, an evangelical Christian, asked one of the wisest men in America, a Calvinist scholar and writer, what he should do to maximize his influence as a man of both wealth and faith. The scholar suggested that he build, and endow, 100 high-quality Christian high schools in the United States. Get time working for you by investing in future-oriented projects. Work for long-term results.

Unfortunately, the rich man consulted other counselors, men with other ideas. Why wait for kids to graduate, establish themselves in their careers, and shape the culture over the course of decades? Why, with enough money, and my nifty scheme, we could present our message to everyone in America practically overnight!

After the rich man had expended a great deal of his wealth on these instant-result projects, and had nothing to show for them, his family grew alarmed. They took control of the enterprise away from the guy who'd shown such poor judgment.

I think Paul had a similar experience, of hanging on by his fingernails to a project that was jittering and skittering in bizarre directions. The years of effort he had poured into the church at Corinth, and the eternal destinies of its members, were all threatened by snake-oil salesmen with their nifty new schemes. Paul appeals to the personal relationship he had with the Corinthian Christians:
2Co 7:2 Yüreklerinizde bize yer verin. Kimseye haksızlık etmedik, kimseyi yoldan saptırmadık, kimseyi sömürmedik.
Let's look at a few words:
  • Yüreklerinizde -- in your hearts. Yürek- (heart) + -ler- (plural sign) + -iniz- (your) + -de (at/on/in)
  • bize -- to us
  • yer -- place
  • verin -- give
  • Kimseye -- to anyone
  • haksızlık -- injustice. hak- (justice) + -sız- (without) + -lık (the quality of)
  • etmedik -- we have not done
  • yoldan -- the road, the way
  • saptırmadık -- we have not defiled, spoiled
  • sömürmedik -- we have not exploited
The appeal to personal experience can be powerful. When John Wesley was mobbed, he would speak respectfully to the rioters, asking which of them he had personally injured, which he had personally offended, so that he could make it right. Time after time, he escaped unscathed.

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