In all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses. —2 Corinthians 6:4
An antique dealer thought the wrinkled old baseball card she found might be worth $10. After posting it on eBay, she began to wonder if it might be more valuable than she had thought. She removed the posting and consulted a professional evaluator who confirmed that the photo on the 1869 card showed the Cincinnati Red Stockings, the first professional baseball team in the US. The card sold for more than $75,000.
Mike Osegueda’s article in The Fresno Bee said that even though the card was creased and discolored, the most important thing was its authenticity—it was real.
Paul and his companions suffered greatly while spreading the gospel. In 2 Corinthians 6, he listed their outward trials, their inward traits, and their spiritual resources (vv.4-7). Try to imagine the circumstances in which all these things interacted—beatings, patience, prison, kindness, distresses, love. Although broken physically, depleted emotionally, and tested spiritually, the authenticity of their faith in Christ clearly shone through. “As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things” (v.10).
There’s no substitute for being real.