And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches. (2 Corinthians 11:28)
It’s fascinating to read of all the trials that Paul went through. The list in 2 Corinthians 11 seems to be building to a climax, but all of a sudden it seems to crash down. Imprisonment, beatings, betrayals, hardships, lack of food and water, exposure to cold weather – and the daily pressure of his care for all the churches? What? Why did Paul decide to end the list like this? That hardly seems to fit with the rest.
It seems that the other trials were external and occasional, whereas the care for the churches was internal and continual. I’m sure that all the items in Paul’s list were brutal. But Paul says the daily care for churches was, in some sense, brutal too. Not only does it make the list, but it’s written like it’s a climax. It’s definitely a different category of hardship, but it’s a significant one.
I know I tend to underestimate the daily care of churches, and overestimate some of the other things on the list. Paul says it’s just as much of a trial as the rest, although it’s a different kind.
That should tell us something about the nature of ministry. It’s not an excuse for a pity party. It’s an amazing privilege to pastor and lead. Why would we have any reason to complain? And, there are lots of other people who are going through hardships too. Their hardships make ours look tame.
But we should never forget that Christian leadership is tough. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.