Paul transitions from the first to the second chapter of Second Corinthians by finalizing his account of the pastoral role he has as an apostle. Masterfully illustrated by his actions, the Godly pastor is one who ever acts with the mind, heart and soul of Christ Himself. Even while conducting administrative endeavors like payroll and paperwork, a pastor of God keeps the divine purpose of his life in mind. True pastors neither lord their power over a flock nor negligently allow their flock to go astray. One does well to be mindful of the many tears and toils Paul endured for his beloved congregations, but also bear in mind his words "If anyone has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but in some measure–not to put it too severely–to you all" (v. 5).
The way Paul addresses pastoral issues seems wholly superior to the modern approach seen in many Catholic parishes: the former is the highest outpouring of earnest love and patient instruction, while the latter tends to be predominantly bureaucratic and lacking a personal touch. After dealing with a pastoral problem, Paul goes further to completely eradicates the source so that Satan may not have a foothold.
He writes, ”For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life” (v. 15-16). Paul then contrasts himself with those whom he calls ”peddlers” or ”swindlers” of God’s word. Never watering down or altering the message of the Gospel, his words indict all types of unworthy ministry and those who participate in it. Truly, any religious minister who does not tremble before the Word of God is a sham and will suffer harshly under the judgment of God.
Music: Gerard Satamian’s Chansons sans paroles op. 2 Serenade, from the album Dry Fig Trees. www.magnatune.com