Eyes, Eyes, Everywhere Eyes!
We have sent along with him the brother whose fame in the things of the gospel
has spread through all the churches; and not only this, but he has also been
appointed by the churches to travel with us in this gracious work, which is
being administered by us for the glory of the Lord Himself, and to show our
readiness, taking precaution so that no one will discredit us in our
administration of this generous gift; for we have regard for what is honorable,
not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men (2 Corinthians
Paul knew what it was like to live in the “fish bowl.” When you live in the
“fish bowl,” you exist for others to observe. If they want to make it their
life’s objective, they can spend a lot of hours discovering your flaws and
calling your flaws to others’ attention. There were those who seemingly defined
their life’s mission to be discovering Paul’s flaws and announcing those flaws
to anyone who would listen.
Paul had a huge problem. Prior to conversion, he was the “poster child” of first
century Jews who hated what we call Christianity (they often called it the Way).
He said in Acts 26:9, “So then, I thought to myself that I had to do many things
hostile to the name of Jesus of Nazareth,” and in verse 11, “And as I punished
them often in all the synagogues, I tried to force them to blaspheme; and being
furiously enraged at them, I kept pursuing them even to foreign cities.” He so
violently opposed Christianity prior to his conversion that Jerusalem Christians
feared him after conversion (see Acts 9:26).
Paul, the Jews’ Jew, understood the Christ (the Messiah) came to save gentiles
as well as Jews (see Genesis 12:3; note “all families of the earth;” and
Galatians 3:16). Paul’s understanding was NOT popular among most first century
Jews—Christian and non-Christian! The result: the violent man became the target.
One of the first century’s great ironies: the Jews’ Jew became the Christian
apostle to gentiles! Even the Christian Peter, after his Acts 10 experience,
lacked the courage to admit God’s interest expressed in Paul’s mission to the
gentiles (see Galatians 2:11-14).
Paul had a dream! He wanted to eliminate the gap between Jewish Christians and
gentile Christians. To him, the best way to bring healing was for gentile
Christians to send a gift to Jewish Christians to aid with physical necessities.
Though Paul promoted the gift, collected the gift, and delivered the gift, he
could not heal the breach!
Paul’s passion to heal an unnecessary problem significantly contributed to the
events that resulted in his death. He wanted to end a problem God ended in Jesus
Christ’s death and resurrection (read Galatians 2:11-21). He wanted to “fix” a
condition God “fixed” in Jesus Christ, and he could not! His great efforts to do
things honorably in everyone’s sight failed. People continued to be people!
Jewish Christians held so tightly to their views that they could not see through
God’s eyes! They were so “sure” they saw correctly they did not comprehend their
To me, there are several lessons to note. (1) Conflict always will exist among
Christians. (2) Some conflicts cannot be “fixed.” (3) The challenge is not
always the “fixing,” but being Christians when things need “fixing.” We can act
like God’s people even when other Christians do not.
West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 28 February 2008
Link to other
Writings of David Chadwell