Summary: And perhaps a more comprehensive statement of the feelings with which the gay people of the world regard Christians cannot be found than in this expression, "as sorrowful." True, they are not free from sorrow. They are tried like others. They have peculia
Being Enlarged in His Life
2 Cor. 6:10 As made sorrowful yet always rejoicing; as poor yet enriching many; as having nothing and yet possessing all things.
As sorrowful, Grieving, afflicted, troubled, sad. Under these sufferings we seem always to be cast down and sad. We endure afflictions that usually lead to the deepest expressions of grief. If the world looks only upon our trials, we must be regarded as always suffering, and always sad. The world will suppose that we have cause for continued lamentation, and they will regard us as among the most unhappy of mortals. Such, perhaps, is the estimate which the world usually affixes to the Christian life. They regard it as a life of sadness and of gloom--of trial and of melancholy. They see little in it that is cheerful, and they suppose that a heavy burden presses constantly on the heart of the Christian. Joy they think pertains to the gaieties and pleasures of this life; sadness to religion. And perhaps a more comprehensive statement of the feelings with which the gay people of the world regard Christians cannot be found than in this expression, "as sorrowful." True, they are not free from sorrow. They are tried like others. They have peculiar trials arising from persecution; opposition, contempt, and from the conscious and deep-felt depravity of their hearts. They ARE serious; and their seriousness is often interpreted as gloom. But there is another side to this picture; and there is much in the Christian character and feelings unseen or unappreciated by the world. For they are
Always rejoicing. So Paul was, notwithstanding the fact that he always appeared to have occasion for grief. Religion had a power not only to sustain the soul in trial, but to fill it with positive joy. The sources of his joy were doubtless the assurances of the Divine favor, and the hopes of eternal glory. And the same is true of religion always. There is an internal peace and joy which the world may not see or appreciate, but which is far more than a compensation for all the trials which the Christian endures.
As poor. The idea is, we are poor, yet in our poverty we endeavor "to give no offence, and to commend ourselves as the ministers of God." This would be done by their patience and resignation; by their entire freedom from everything dishonest and dishonorable; and by their readiness, when necessary, to labor for their own support. There is no doubt that the apostles were poor. Comp.
Ac 3:6 Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.
The little property which some of them had, had all been forsaken in order that they might follow the Saviour, and go and preach his gospel. And there is as little doubt that the mass of ministers are still poor, and that God designs and desires that they should be. It is in such circumstances that he designs they should illustrate the beauty and the sustaining power of religion, and be examples to the world.
Yet making many rich. On the meaning of the word rich,
The riches of his goodness. This is a Hebrew mode of speaking, for "his rich goodness," that is, for his abundant or great goodness. Riches denote superfluity, or that which abounds, or which exceeds a man’s present wants; and hence the word in the New Testament is used to denote abundance; or that which is very great and valuable
Here the apostle means that he and his fellow-laborers, though poor themselves, were the instruments of conferring durable and most valuable possessions on many persons. They had bestowed on them the true riches. They had been the means of investing them with treasures infinitely more valuable than any which kings and princes could bestow. They to whom they ministered were made partakers of the treasure where the moth doth not corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.
As having nothing. Being utterly destitute. Having no property. This was true, doubtless, in a literal sense, of most of the apostles.
And yet possessing all things. That is,
(1.) possessing a portion of all things that may be necessary for our welfare, as far as our heavenly Father shall deem to be necessary for us.
(2.) Possessing an interest in all things, so that we can enjoy them. We can derive pleasure from the works of God--the heavens, the earth, the hills, the streams, the cattle on the mountains or in the vales, as the works of God. We have a possession in them so that we can enjoy them as his works, and can say, "Our Father made them all." They are given to man to enjoy. They are a part of the inheritance of man. And though we cannot call them our own in the legal sense, yet we can call them ours in the sense that we can derive pleasure from their contemplation, and see in them the proofs of the wisdom and the goodness of God. The child of God that looks upon the hills and vales, upon an extensive and beautiful farm or landscape, may derive more pleasure from the contemplation of them as the work of God, and his gift to men, than the real owner does, if irreligious, from contemplating all this as his own. And so far as mere happiness is concerned, the friend of God who sees in all this the proofs of God’s beneficence and wisdom, may have a more valuable possession in those things than he who holds the title-deeds.