In the first chapter of 2 Corinthians, we find that Paul has endured trials of a severe nature. Through a riot in Asia, to other travel encounters, Paul would risk his life on a daily basis for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. With the likes of Demetrius, the silversmith, and others in Ephesus, we see Paul being persecuted continually. Having already seized his traveling companions Gaius and Aristarchus, Paul was in a dangerous time.
Yet, as he is pressed on all sides, Paul finds comfort in the Lord. Experiencing solace and strength through prayer and supplication, Paul is able to endure. Finally, using his own experiences to bring comfort and understanding to others through the peace that only Jesus can bring, Paul presses on.
In Philippians 3:14, he wrote, “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
For the most part, ministry looks nothing like this today. Here in America, we are free to preach and teach the Gospel. Unencumbered by travel and cultural differences, we are able to give the Good News to those who will listen. Without fear of reprisal, we are able to gather in a way Paul could never do in his day. Whatever push back we receive is of little danger to us or others. However, in other parts of the world, it looks very different. So much so, that the mere mention of Jesus could get you killed or imprisoned. Yet, we know there are men and women, who through their higher calling, are serving under a death sentence. Like Paul asked almost 2000 years ago, “You also must help us by prayer.”
In 2 Corinthians 1:11, he pleads, “You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.”
While I am not under a death sentence for teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I, too, will ask for a prayer of intercession on my behalf. It is needed so that I may be blessed with the strength and perseverance to finish the race I have been called (2 Timothy 4:7). With humility, I will continue to seek the growth needed in my own walk and those around me. My goal is to be sanctified through the work of the Holy Spirit in my life and to see Him work in the lives of others. I also want to see that the seeds that are planted will find fertile ground just as they did with Demetrius!
In 3 John 1:12, we read, “Demetrius has received a good testimony from everyone, and from the truth itself. We also add our testimony, and you know that our testimony is true.” The same Demetrius, who had started a riot against the Lord (Acts 19:23-27), was now for Him. God is in the life-changing business.