by Daniel Stocky
2 Corinthians 6:13 « Now for a recompence in the same, (I speak as unto my children) be ye also enlarged. »
In this passage the apostle Paul encourages the Christians in Corinth to open their hearts because they had become overly preoccupied with themselves and their individual lives and had lost their sensitivity to the work of God. If Paul had a burden in his heart for the work of God at Corinth, the believers did not perceive it.
The life of a child is often limited to his little universe, his “world.” And that world basically consists of sleeping, eating and playing. If these three are in order than for the child, all is well. Yet, in the process of growing up, this world must expand and open up more to others. Every parent wishes this for their children. It is not good for a 16-year-old girl to stay locked in her room playing with her tea set and with her dolls. Nor is it good for a young man of 15 to be playing with his toy garage and toy cars on the carpet of his room.
Paul speaks to the Corinthians in the same way a father would speak to his son or daughter who is struggling with the idea of leaving the world of a child. He encourages them to grow up.
In order for anyone to fulfill their God-given destiny there must be significant growth and maturity in life, and the Corinthians clearly lacked that. ( See 1 Cor 3:1,6; 14:20) For the heart to grow and mature, it must be willing to explore things it has never seen before, and learn things that it didn’t even know existed beforehand.
There are but a couple of days left in this year’s Daniel Fast, and I feel personally challenged to look at my life and ask myself this question: In this new year, will my life just continue to revolve around the toys that I have in my bedroom? Or am I more open to receive new things from God that I have not yet discovered?
Part of growing up in the faith is learning how to be open to different types of ministries, even those whose perhaps you are not comfortable with. If we only listen to things from God’s word that we already agree with, we will never be challenged to grow. If we study certains truths of God’s word that we already believe in, but are closed to studying anything else, we will eventually stop growing all together.
I am not advocating studying things that are clearly contrary to the Word of God. But no man can claim he knows everything that is revealed in God’s word. Most of us say that we believe the Bible. But in reality we believe parts of the Bible, the parts we like and are comfortable with. Just like a child who has his favorite toys and can’t be separated from them.
So Paul exhorts the Christians of Corinth to be more sensitive and open to his ministry. And how about us? Even though I may be right on all points of divine truth, am I sensitive to the ministry of others? Is there a place in my heart to receive from others, or am I simply too preoccupied with my own little world? Do I perceive my mission in life to simply defend the truths I already know, or learn things I have not yet discovered?
One of our most cherished values in our family of churches and ministries is to be inclusive not exclusive. This does not mean that we do not have a confession of faith (we do). Nor does it mean that we do not have convictions (we do). But it does mean that while keeping our strong beliefs, we also maintain an open heart to all who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.
God is at work in our nation. And He is working through many different people, many different churches, and many different movements. So let us open our hearts to support and encourage what the Holy Spirit is doing in our nation by being freed from our often narrow-minded habits.
As we look ahead to next week, next month, and even further, I want to encourage you to make it a point to pray for other churches and ministries. Take some time today and make a list of other ministries that you know of. Bless them. Pray for their increase and growth. As you do, God will enlarge your heart even more.