Paul’s passionate concern

14 Oct

If you asked Paul whether you could lead people without becoming emotionally involved in their lives, I think he might have looked back at you with a blank stare.

Listen to the kinds of things he writes:

Romans 1:11, “For I long to see you…”
Romans 15:23, “I have longed for many years to come to you…”
2 Corinthians 7:1, “I have great pride in you…”
2 Corinthians 12:15, “I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls…”
Galatians 4:19, “…my little children, for whom I again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you…”
Philippians 1:8, “For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus…”
Philippians 4:1, “Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for…”
Colossians 2:1, “For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you…”
1 Thessalonians 2:8, “So being affectionately desirous of you…because you had become very dear to us”
2 Timothy 2:4, “I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy…”

Paul did not only feel deeply for people, he let them know. When you read Paul letters, there was no question whether Paul loved you or wanted your good. In fact, sometimes he describes his care for people in ways that are almost embarrassing. Imagine for example saying Philippians 1:8 to someone! “I yearn for you…” O.k., wow, a little awkward! But I think that’s only because we have become comfortable with the ministry being more of a professional exercise. The kinds of things Paul says would be strange for a teacher to say to his students, but not nearly as strange for a father to say to his children.

2 Responses to “Paul’s passionate concern”

  1. Joe Lima October 14, 2011 at 7:47 am #

    Paul must have been wrong. Paul are you nuts, wearing your emotions on your sleeve like this? This schmoozie stuff just won’t do Paul. Paul this can only lead to people trusting their emotions rather than their heads. Hahaha, pull the other leg.
    Hey you cerebral intellectuals out there who disdain emotion, imitate Paul by showing your emotions. Paul was certainly more intellectual than you , being trained by Gamaliel in the school of his grandfather Hillel and then inspired by God to write a major part of the New Testament. The emotions he shows us are part of scripture and not to be shunned.

  2. masimdumisene October 15, 2011 at 1:28 am #

    Josh: I yearn to be with you, bro! 🙂

    No jokes – I do! 🙂

    Thankful for your pursuit of genuinely “pastoral” ministry, and the cultivating of fervent love among believers.

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