Our readings in 2 Corinthians are thought provoking. There is a danger for all those who are busy earning a living in an environment which has no time for God or Christ. This attitude can start to soak into our way of thinking and doing. In view of this the words of Paul about his commitment to God set a good example for the Corinthians and us.
“So that we do not lose heart”, Paul writes, “Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day” (4:16). Yes, it is a day-by-day renewal otherwise our hearts can get out of focus. Unlike a camera a good focus in human nature is NOT automatic. But our daily renewal, even if there is “slight momentary affliction … is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal”.
Daily renewal is essential so that we can see the unseen with greater clarity – with the eye of faith! What is this “weight of glory”? It is intriguing that Jesus used the Greek word for “weight” just once! In the parable about the labourers in the vineyard, the complaint of those who worked all day was that they had “borne the burden of the day”.
Will glory be a burden? Surely not when immortal powers are possessed, but there will be weighty challenges for those reigning with Christ and who work with him “to decide disputes for many people” (Isaiah 2:4). Witnessing the difficulties nations have in resolving disputes today shows the importance of this potential future role. Maybe we can better empathize with the Psalmist who wrote, “I would rather be a doorkeeper in the temple of my God …” (84:10).
In contrast to the light affliction Paul sees the Corinthians experiencing, we have read of the burden of affliction of Jeremiah. Notice his final words in Lamentations, his plea to God. “Restore us to yourself, O LORD, that we may be restored! Renew our days as of old – unless you have utterly rejected us …”. We know that God has not rejected his people; the present restoration of the Jews to part of their promised land is a great stimulus to our faith in God’s plan and purpose. Finally, remember Jeremiah’s words, “The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him” (3:25). Let us seek Him day by day as we wait for Christ’s return.