Summary & Conclusion to 2 Corinthians
The unique circumstances that led Paul to write 2 Corinthians resulted in a letter with many important lessons for work, workers, and workplaces. Paul repeatedly stresses the importance of transparency and integrity. He urges his readers to invest in good and joyful relationships at work and to pursue reconciliation when relationships are broken. He measures godly work in terms of service, leadership, humility, generosity, and the reputations we earn through our actions. He argues that performance, accountability, and the timely fulfillment of obligations are essential duties of Christians at work. He gives standards for unbiased performance evaluation. He explores the opportunities and challenges of working with nonbelievers. He implores us to use the wealth we gain from work for the good of the community, even to the point of making equal use of it to benefit others as we do to benefit ourselves. He assures us that in doing so we increase, rather than decrease, our own financial security because we come to depend on God’s power rather than our own weakness.
Paul’s words are extremely challenging because he says that serving others, even to the point of suffering, is the way to be effective in God’s economy, just as Jesus himself effected our salvation by his suffering on the cross. Paul, while falling far short of Jesus’ divine perfection, is willing to live his life as an open book, an example of how God’s strength overcomes human frailty. Because of his openness, Paul is credible when he claims that working according to God’s ways, purposes, and values is truly the way to a fuller life. He passes on to us the words of the Lord Jesus himself, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9). This admonition is just as important to our work today as it was to the Corinthians when Paul wrote this fascinating letter.