Paul says that the church is willingly enslaving themselves to masters that only want to exploit them (11:20). Why would they put up with that? Paul decides to reiterate why he is better than the other “super-apostles“, even though he can’t believe he is being so crass (11:23). Not only does he have the same “qualifications” (Hebrew, Israelite, Abraham), but he has shown his ongoing love and support of the church by enduring more suffering and hardship than the “super-apostles” could ever imagine (11:22-33). Does that make him weak? Well, he’d rather boast in his weakness than in his accomplishments (11:29). Why? Because, as he says later, “whenever I am weak, then I am strong” (12:10).
Do we sometimes fall into the trap of thinking that being prosperous and escaping hardship means that people have a better relationship with God? Paul should help us to believe otherwise. We need to be sure that we aren’t awed by “human standards” when we look at others.