Tuesday, June 8, 2010

1 Corinthians 9: I am compelled . . .

It's not easy being an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul lays it out in 2 Corinthians 11:25.

He's beaten, thrown into prison, stoned, and shipwrecked.
He's constantly on the move.
He's in danger from rivers, bandits, his own countrymen, and his enemies.
He works without pay and goes without sleep or food.
He has been cold and naked.

On top of that, he is constantly judged.
Does he eat food offered to idols? What does that mean?
Does he refuse it? What does that mean?

He raises offerings for churches in need, but often churches fail to meed his needs.
He could insist on being treated with respect, but he that might get in the way of spreading the Gospel, and he would rather die than do that.

Paul says, "When I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, for I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel." (9:16)

He must preach. He cannot do otherwise.

Sometimes I get stuck thinking about how hard things are.
How much easier they would be if I made other choices.
I was looking at job offerings the other day, jobs that I would qualify for, jobs that would pay me far more than I am currently making.

But God has compelled me to do certain things.
I must teach.
I must write.
I must finish my schooling.
I must study the Word, seek understanding, and then share it.

I am compelled to do these things, and "woe to me" if I do not do them.
This is no sacrifice.
God is faithful.

This journey has taken me out of my role as a pastoral assistant and placed me in the middle of a university, in the middle of people who do not know Jesus.

I don't really know where I'm going, but I have to keep going.
I am compelled to follow this path, and "woe to me" if I don't keep going.

I will do whatever it takes to obey God's directions.

Paul says, "I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessing."

What are you compelled to do?

Incidentally, when I don't spend time worshiping God, when I don't spend time in God's word, when I avoid fellowship with other followers of Jesus, I tend to lose sight of the passions God has placed inside my heart.

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