12:11 I have become a fool in boasting; you have compelled me. For I ought to have been commended by you; for in nothing was I behind the most eminent apostles, though I am nothing. 12 Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance, in signs and wonders and mighty deeds. 13 For what is it in which you were inferior to other churches, except that I myself was not burdensome to you? Forgive me this wrong!
Why does Paul feel the need, why is he compelled to blow his own horn? Is it for financial gain? It can't be. He never even took a salary from the church in Corinth. Is it for control? That can't be either because he doesn't even live there any more. No matter how you look at this situation none of this is for Paul. As from the beginning everything Paul does is for them. So how does Paul boasting about himself help Corinth? He is trying to protect them from those who are seeking control and likely financial gain. There are wolves in the hen house.
Like we talked about a few days ago it's tough to be a leader. Even Jesus had to blow His own horn a few times but never for His own sake. What did He get from it?
Notice how Paul is almost trying to shock them back into reality. He asks for their forgiveness for not taking a salary from them when he planted the church in the first place.
What can we learn practically from this whole scenario? The thing that keeps coming back to my mind is how critical it is who we allow to have influence in our lives. If people, (or a single person), have demonstrated over and over that they have your best interests at heart why ignore their counsel in any situation? Why run after some "new thing", or some new relationship, or some new endeavour if the people who care about you the most and have shown it over and over again are advising you otherwise?
The Bible says there is wisdom in the counsel of many but who do we permit to be those wise counselors? I'm telling you for your own sake to take stock of the people in your life that have made sacrifices for you, cared for you, prayed for you, supported you, cried with you, celebrated with you. Those are the people your ears should be listening to. The world says follow your heart. Jesus said "Follow Me." He also said to choose the people of influence in your life wisely.
Paul is still just a guy in spite of all the gifts God gave him. As he said "I am nothing" even though in giftedness as a leader and apostle he had everything. It's not about everything or nothing. It's about trusting those who have earned the right to have your trust.