MDB 50: 2 Cor 11

Burk Parsons

2 Cor 11:28
And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches.

The apostle Paul was a burdened man. He was not burdened in the sense that he carried a burden of guilt on his back but was burdened in that he possessed deep, abiding, and genuine care for others, for the ministry of the church, for the work of the Spirit of God, and for the kingdom of God. Paul's "daily pressure" and his "anxiety for all the churches" was not a self-consumed and self-absorbed anxiety for his own needs and comforts, which our Lord commanded against in the Sermon on the Mount. Nor was his anxiety a result of the persecutions that were often leveled at the church or even a result what God-ordained trials may come upon the church. Rather, his anxiety was a righteous, God-fearing anxiety on account of his single-minded pursuit of the kingdom of God.

I don't believe I have ever met a truly worry-free person, although I have met many people who claim never to worry about anything. Typically, however, they are among the most irresponsible, unproductive, and arrogant people I have ever come across. But I have met people, and often do meet people who possess what appears to be a true and abiding trust in God on whom they daily cast their cares. Paul was such a man. He trusted God and knew well that God is in control of all things--the good things, the bad things, all the in-between things, and all the things we don't even know about.

Paul was a man, though sinful and corrupt like the rest of us, who actively sought to cast His cares on God and to lay all his burdens at the foot of the cross. Paul knew he wasn't in control, and he recognized that God's concern for His church outweighed and sovereignly overshadowed any of his concerns for the church. Nevertheless, at the end of the day, it wasn't shipwrecks, imprisonment, beatings, stonings, or starvation that were ultimately the cause of his anxiety (vv. 21-27). Rather, his daily pressure came on account of his daily concern for the advance of God's kingdom among those churches he was ministering.

If we are not completely self-consumed, we all feel this sort of righteous anxiety for others, especially for those closest to us. And if a pastor is truly called by God, he will often feel the same pressure and anxiety for his people and for their service in the kingdom that the apostle himself felt. Although we all express it in different ways and to varying degrees, such great care for the flocks we have been called to shepherd will inevitably result in our daily prayers, daily sorrows, and daily pressures for our people, as corporate congregations and as individual members and their children. However, if a pastor is never truly burdened for his people, or if his ministry seems merely to be a self-serving and self-absorbed ministry, he would likely make a better politician than pastor.

But whether pastor or parishioner, at the beginning and at the end of every day, and on every occasion of kingdom-minded anxiety throughout the day, we can and most certainly should call upon the one who "daily bears our burdens" (Ps. 68:19), whose yoke is easy and burden light, that we might live abundantly, freely, and dependently for Him and in Him who cares more for His kingdom than we could ever possibly care and who cares more for us than we could ever care for ourselves.