9 For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death, because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. 10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. 11 To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless, 12 and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; 13 when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things.
First, I was incredibly thankful that I couldn't identify with his feelings; I have never felt particularly hungry, buffeted, homeless, reviled, persecuted, slandered, or the scum of the earth and refuse of all things (the language is a bit more colorful in the Greek). This could be because we have only recently began the journey of a full-time missionary lifestyle completely dependent upon God through his people (perhaps the worst is yet to come); but we have always felt loved and supported by the churches and Christians we have been blessed to know.
Second, I wondered about our own willingness to suffer, and by extension, the willingness of the American church in general to embrace suffering and sacrifice as the way of discipleship. We as Americans recoil from any thought of genuine suffering and feel persecuted when we can't find a good parking spot. It seems that the work will not get done without a greater willingness to live and become sacrificial Christians. God's way of victory is not through comfort and self-satisfaction.