The time is now
1. As we work together with him, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain.
2. For he says, "At an acceptable time I have listened to you, and on a day of salvation I have helped you." See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation!
3. We are putting no obstacle in anyone's way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry,
4. but as servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities,
5. beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger;
6. by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love,
7. truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left;
8. in honor and dishonor, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true;
9. as unknown, and yet are well known; as dying, and see—we are alive; as punished, and yet not killed;
10. as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything.
11. We have spoken frankly to you Corinthians; our heart is wide open to you.
12. There is no restriction in our affections, but only in yours.
13. In return—I speak as to children—open wide your hearts also.
"God's Path or Man's Path"
In our reading Paul boldly proclaims, "now is the acceptable time." In the NIV Bible we read, "now is the time of God's favor."
There was a time the people of the United States believed that God had divinely ordained the country to take over our land, just as He had directed the Jews to their Promised Land.
So what do we Americans think, not only of our country now, but of God's will for our country? In light of economic troubles and contraction, if we say it is God's favor causing our bounty, can we also say it is God's will that we contract? Or have we strayed so far from God's path that we are now being punished as the Israelites were 4,000 years ago?
And how could Paul, amidst the harsh circumstances he describes, claim that God's favor was upon him?
Paul claimed God's favor because he knew that it came not of material comfort, but of one who gave up all that he had for the sake of the world. Paul's bounty would never contract or be stolen because it was already freely given away.
We, too, are in the time of God's favor! We can measure God's favor upon us, not by how much we accumulate but by how much we can contribute to our nation and to mankind. Let us freely share God's favor and put asunder those who would for personal gain, burden the generations to follow, with today's ill conceived folly!
Now is the acceptable time.
Generou s God, you have always provided for all of our needs. Teach us now how to return to your path, how to throw off the yoke of the Godless and the self serving before we too are enslaved by greed, hate and arrogance. Amen.