You may be asking why I changed my plan. Do you think I make my plans carelessly? Do you think I am like people of the world who say “Yes” when they really mean “No”? As surely as God is faithful, my word to you does not waver between “Yes” and “No.” For Jesus Christ, the Son of God, does not waver between “Yes” and “No.” He is the One whom Silas, Timothy, and I preached to you, and as God’s ultimate “Yes,” He always does what He says. For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for His glory.2 Corinthians 1:17-20
Paul now responds to the Corinthians accusing him of vacillation and not fulfilling what he promised. Does Paul mean what he says or not? Is he a person whose word you can trust or not? When Paul told you something could you rely on it or not? All of this stems from the fact he promised to visit the Corinthians on his way to Macedonia or on his way back. Those comments appear to have stirred some of those in Corinth to mistrust what Paul says. Some believe when Paul says “Yes” he is actually meaning “No” but just doesn’t want to tell you “No” so tells you Yes and does No. Or perhaps he is person who can’t make up his mind and gives you a Yes/No answer. Either way you never know where you stand.
Paul’s actual words to the Corinthians were:
When I come, I will write letters of recommendation for the messengers you choose to deliver your gift to Jerusalem. And if it seems appropriate for me to go along, they can travel with me. I am coming to visit you after I have been to Macedonia, for I am planning to travel through Macedonia. Perhaps I will stay awhile with you, possibly all winter, and then you can send me on my way to my next destination. This time I don’t want to make just a short visit and then go right on. I want to come and stay awhile, if the Lord will let me.1 Corinthians 16:3-7
. . . I wanted to give you a double blessing by visiting you twice— first on my way to Macedonia and again when I returned from Macedonia. Then you could send me on my way to Judea. You may be asking why I changed my plan.2 Corinthians 1:15-17
We don’t actually know what happened but we do know that it was not in line with what had been promised or in accord with the Corinthians expectations. Paul had written things like: “if it seems appropriate for me to go along”; “Perhaps I will stay awhile with you, possibly all winter”; “if the Lord will let me”. He had stated his intentions but clearly what he had intended didn’t eventuate. Either he didn’t get to visit twice (or even once at that time) or not for as long as intended. We just don’t know exactly what happened. But we do know it left some of the Corinthian believers feeling they couldn’t trust what Paul said. That much is clear from what he has written in this section. Something I haven’t made clear as yet is that this journey he is on it to take the offering to the believers in Jerusalem. Sending me on my way to Judea is effectively saying Jerusalem.
Paul adds to his personal comments concerning his promises and their fulfilment a comparison with Christ. The inference is “even if you think you can’t trust what I say” Jesus Christ doesn’t waiver between Yes and No. He always does what He says. All of God’s promises are fulfilled in Christ. No matter what you think of me, Paul, you can totally rely on God.
That is true but as Christ’s ambassadors we ought to be as truthful as possible. The words we say ought to be the plain truth of our intentions. But also we have to be careful about the promises we make. Sometimes we can say things like Paul did and qualify it with “if”, “perhaps”, “possibly” and “If the Lord will let me”. – “The Lord willing and the creek don’t rise” kind of comments. But we need to take into account the effect of our words on other people. Especially those closest to us and the promises we make to them which can quickly be broken or lost in the midst of other pressing needs. The message that gets sent is “I am low priority”.
Let’s learn from Paul words and seek to be someone whose “Yes” means yes, and when we promise something we will move heaven and earth to make it happen. Well our small part of the earth anyway, let’s leave the affairs of heaven to God. We couldn’t handle them anyway.
The best advice: “Under-promise & Over-deliver”. Not the other way around.Robb Thompson
To Underpromise And Overperform Is Proof You Are One Who Keeps Their Word.Robb Thompson