Keep Mending the Nets
By David Niednagel, Pastor, Teacher. David uses the S.O.A.P. method for his daily morning devotional time. (study, observe, apply, pray).
2 Corinthians 13:11 Dear brothers and sisters, I close my letter with these last words: Be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you. NLT
How would I/you close a letter like this to that church with its particular problems? Paul closed with four brief commands. 1) Rejoice. Focus on the greatness and glory of the real God, and praise Him for what He has already done in Creation, Salvation, providing daily bread, etc. Trust that He is greater than any circumstances. Make a conscious decision to praise Him in whatever comes in the future.
2) Grow to maturity. I love this word (katartizo). It actually has the idea of preparing something for its purpose. In Matt 4:21 it is used of “mending their (fishing) nets”. With holes in them, they were not effective, so they had to sew up any broken sections to make it complete, effective. In Luke 6:40 Jesus said “when a disciple is fully trained, he will be like his master”. Gal 6:1 says “if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him”. Heb. 11:3 says the universe was created/fashioned by the word of God. Paul is telling the Corinthian they must ALL help restore one other – so there are no holes in the net, so they are ALL like Jesus, so ALL are restored to a healthy walk with the Lord. Paul commands them to take the maturity of the whole church seriously.
3) Encourage each other. The word means “to come along side”. Spend time with one another, talking about the real issues and struggles, praying together and helping one another trust God with the important issues of life. Don’t let people struggle and fail! Make sure everyone finishes the race.
4) Live in harmony and peace. Again, the whole church must do this together. Recognize there will be differences, but they can still love one another and serve together with their differences. If they do, they will experience the presence and help of the God of love and peace. It is His nature and He wants to help them be like Him.
Lord, Thank You for what You have already done for us in Christ – for the forgiveness of sins and the presence of Your Spirit of love and peace. We have everything we need to walk in peace with one another and in fellowship with You. Help me trust and praise You in everything. Help me not grow weary in “mending nets” or taking time to “come along side” some who are weak and struggling. There are times I want to give up, but help me be as faithful as Paul was to finish the race.