That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep.
Paul understood that people are moved by your weaknesses. You see, people may be impressed by your strengthens, but they can relate to your weaknesses.
All of us, have experienced a unique mix of Life Experiences. Paul often pointed out his sufferings as a reason to listen to him.
Are they [ministering] servants of Christ (the Messiah)? I am talking like one beside himself, [but] I am more, with far more extensive and abundant labors, with far more imprisonments, [beaten] with countless stripes, and frequently [at the point of] death. Five times I received from [the hands of] the Jews forty [lashes all] but one; Three times I have been beaten with rods; once I was stoned. Three times I have been aboard a ship wrecked at sea; a [whole] night and a day I have spent [adrift] on the deep; Many times on journeys, [exposed to] perils from rivers, perils from bandits, perils from [my own] nation, perils from the Gentiles, perils in the city, perils in the desert places, perils in the sea, perils from those posing as believers [but destitute of Christian knowledge and piety];
Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers.
Paul does not point out his successes, but his suffering. Listen he said he had been imprisoned, beaten, and ship wrecked. He had faced bandits, desert placed, and the perils at sea.
You and I have experiences that make us we are.
For example, When I was a in first grade, there was a group of mean high schoolers who, decided not to let the foot of the snow that had fallen, go to waste. So they buried me in the freezing stuff, and left me till my mother came and found me.
Then as a teenagers I was in an accident when a Mach 1, I was riding it, lost control. We rolled the car, and I came out the back window.
I could list many other experiences that have come together into the mosaic that makes me me,
Form the place I grew up in, to the places I was educated, to the churches I have served.
You also to have had unique experiences that have made you who you are.
Some of you were bullied at school.
Some of you lost friends.
Some of you struggled at college.
Some of you have lost loved you.
You have lost jobs, or missed a promotion, or you were replaced in your job.
All your experiences, the good one, and the not so good ones, made you who you are.
You not only have had a unique mix of experiences, but because of them you have special skills.
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
Paul said he learned how to be content in any circumstance. How did he learn this, by going through the different circumstances.
The only way to learn to be content while in need, is to be in need. Real need. Not just want, but need.
The need for food, or shelter, real need.
Paul learned new skills, skills of coping.