Woe to me

Paul

All Christians have been assigned a task to complete before our departure.

Is there something that you know God has called you to do?

Do you have a gift that you suspect God wants to use for his glory?

Get that thing on your mind………got it?

Now, consider the fact that adhering to this call or using this gift is not something that is voluntary. Romans 11:29 posits, “For God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.”

Once God places something on your plate, much like our parents did in the days of our youth, it is not optional whether or not we will finish what is before us. God has work for all of us to do, and this work is just as much a motive for our salvation as his grace, mercy and love.

Ephesians 2:10 states, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Though there are “good works” that Jesus expects from Christians across the board, there are also works that are specifically tailored to our skill-set and purpose. For the Apostle Paul, his call was to preach the gospel.

The Lord Jesus speaks to a disciple named Ananias regarding Paul (then Saul) in Acts 9:

This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name. (v. 15-16)

Upon hearing, this does not seem optional—or pleasant for that matter. Is it unfair for God to just tell us that we have to do something, even if it will mean our own discomfort?

It is hard to call a God who was willing to suffer and die for us unfair, firstly. Second, fairness only becomes an issue when entitlement is presumed. If someone thinks that they are supposed to have a life without problems and with amnesty from responsibility, naturally, when this does not occur, they will cry “unfair.”

The truth is, the only thing that we actually deserve—assuming one is a Christian—we are not getting (Romans 6:23). God is not concerned with fairness, but justice (Isaiah 30:18).

Paul, however, does not struggle with his vocation. In fact, Acts 9:20 declares, “At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God.” Not only does he quickly respond to God’s call, but was so convinced of his purpose in Christ that he “baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Christ” (Acts 9:22).

Twenty years later, Paul is still preaching the gospel when he pens his first letter to the church at Corinth. Though he helped found the church, his apostleship is being challenged, to the point where his right to receive monetary support from the church is being neglected. He writes:

But I have made no use of any of these rights, nor am I writing these things to secure any such provision. For I would rather die than have anyone deprive me of my ground for boasting. For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward, but if not of my own will, I am still entrusted with a stewardship. (1 Corinthians 9:15-17/ESV)

Paul, though perhaps unappreciated, continued to preach the gospel. He recognized that the actions of others, or even his own feelings, did not negate the responsibility that had been laid on his shoulders. This charge was so serious to Paul that he curses himself with calamity, affliction and sorrow if he does not carry it out! Regardless of his motivation—either an eager desire to please God or simply compelled by obligation—he was called by God to be a faithful steward.

Much the same, God’s charge to us is also to be faithful stewards. First Peter 4:10 reads, “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace” (ESV).

It becomes a little clearer, now, why God is so darn dogmatic about the call he has placed on our lives. Our gifts are not about ourselves, but about those who will be beneficiaries of the grace that God has given us.

In reference to spiritual gifts, 1 Corinthians 12:4-7 adds, “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.”

Our chief aim is to glorify God and edify others. God, though, has a special way that he wants each of us to do so. With that in mind:

If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength that God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 4:11)

So, what is your gift?

Singing? Woe to you if you do not sing!

Teaching? Woe to you if you do not teach!

Writing? Woe to you if you do not write!

You get the picture.

Though oft inconvenient and unpleasant, our responsibility is indeed just that. The Apostle Paul offers us a compelling example of how we should embrace our call as Christians. He says in Acts 20:24, “I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.”

Advertisements

~ by christianballenger on August 16, 2012.

One Response to “Woe to me”

  1. Yes!!! Woe to thee that does not sings if its put on ya plate. Awesome just awesome!!!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: