Monday, August 28, 2006

Paul's feelings aren't mathematical...

When you think of the Apostle Paul, what words come to mind? Zeal? Authority? Energy? That's what usually comes to my mind. But how about "love"?

In a seminar I attended some years ago, the speaker said that Paul was the apostle characterized by his great love. Or something like that. That came to mind when I read this from 2 Corinthians this morning:
Now when I went to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ and found that the Lord had opened a door for me, I still had no peace of mind, because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I said good-by to them and went on to Macedonia.
2 Corinthians 2.12-13
Does that strike you as surprising? Here's the great preacher of the gospel, coming into Troas to preach the gospel.

He finds that "the Lord had opened a door" for him.

Then he takes off for Macedonia! But why? Because he can't find his buddy Titus!

Why didn't he just entrust Titus to God, and take advantage of the door the Lord had opened? Doesn't he know that these people need to hear about Jesus? Is this the same guy who wrote "But how will they hear unless someone preaches to them"?

Here's what I think: Paul was a human being, not a gospel-preaching machine. He had feelings -- real feelings, not just feelings he put on in order to convince people to to be reconciled to Christ. And those feelings weren't mathematical; just because there were hundreds here versus thousands there, that didn't mean that he would necessarily feel more about the thousands.

In this case, we have hundreds or thousands in Troas, versus "my brother Titus", and his desire to find Titus won out.

Is this bad? I don't think so.

Feelings aren't mathematical. Somehow I get the feeling God isn't mathematical in this way either.

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