Me and Mine
The life of a servant of God is full of lights and shadows, mountains and valleys. And it is not always the lights and the mountains that stand out the most in his experience. Then, the heart becomes depressed, loneliness is sought to mitigate the pain, and some questions come: Is it worth it to keep trying? Is it worth giving so much to be equally misunderstood and criticized?
Thus one begins to enter a long and dark tunnel. Heart hurts; feelings collide with each other. There is almost no strength to do anything. But suddenly, the depressed Christian, looking for help, opens the Scripture. The eyes wander longingly, until a small light appears, and one verse stands out above the rest: "And I will spend what is mine with the greatest pleasure, and even I will spend myself completely for the love of your souls, although loving you more. be loved less" (2 Cor. 12:15).
The apostle's words strike squarely in the heart. Paul's experience must have been the same as this believer's. Behold now, the Holy Spirit, through Paul, shows the way out. A servant must be willing, first, to spend himself, to lose himself for others. Like John the Baptist, of whom it was said that "he was a burning and shining torch". He not only lit, but also burned. And in that burning, the torch is consuming.
Second, we have to spend ours. This hits a little deeper. Because you can be willing to do the first, but not the second. "Ours" touches on a different aspect of egoism that must also be demolished.
And the last thing, related to ingratitude, and perhaps, criticism: "Although loving you more, I am loved less". Pablo's love is so self-sacrificing that he does not expect reciprocation. As he himself defined it in another place: "Love is suffered... it does not look for its own... it does not hold grudges... it suffers everything... it supports everything". Love is, above all, giving yourself to others, without expecting a reward.
Ingratitude is part of the human soul, but it cannot discourage a servant of God, because that is the certainty that the reward will come from God. On the other hand, if the criticism is severe, won't it have some point of truth? Without a doubt, she will help, even if it is painful, to see what needs to be corrected.
This is part of the normal experience of a servant of God, both going through the tunnel and seeing the light at the end; both to receive the sting in the soul and to be saved by the gift of God.