Pastor's Corner: Changing plans
Last updated 10/12/2022 at 5:27am | View PDF
It’s always nice to be able to make and stick to plans. That isn’t always reality, though. If a flight gets canceled, we wind up making new arrangements on the go — sometimes with considerable disappointment.
Since it happens to all of us, you would think people would understand. But when the Apostle Paul’s plans changed, some in Corinth took that as an opportunity to criticize him for being a fickle and unreliable person. He had said he would come to them when he passed through Macedonia (1 Cor. 16:5), but then he changed his mind (2 Cor. 1:23).
On the basis of that change in plans, people claimed that he made plans lightly and in the flesh, rather than in the Spirit (2 Cor. 1:15–17). That certainly highlights that people can be unreasonable! But Paul’s response might seem like an overreaction as well, when he writes:
As God is faithful, our word to you was not Yes and No. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us—by me, Silvanus, and Timothy—was not Yes and No, but in Him was Yes. (2 Cor. 1:18–19)
We may want to tell Paul to settle down, because he’s now defending his change of plans on the basis of the character of God and the content of the Gospel. At first glance, it strikes us as being over the top and unnecessary. Our faith isn’t shaken by modified travel arrangements.
Perhaps Paul would not have answered in this way if other people had not made a big deal out of his change of plans first. But now that his honesty and commitment have been called into question, a defense is required. He had a good reason for bypassing Corinth: they all needed more time to resolve some issues (2 Cor. 1:22–2:4).
But first he reminds them of God’s faithfulness and Christ’s Yes to all of God’s promises. Even to be able to hear his explanation with the right mindset, the Corinthians needed to remember first principles. To really resolve a conflict (even one that started over something silly), we need to keep in mind the character of God and the content of the Gospel.