Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – May 11, 2019
We endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ. 1 Corinthians 9:12b (NRSV)
It is incredibly easy to follow Jesus and pursue a life of devotion to him only to the extent that we get something out of it. Though we may not say it so explicitly, we in essence are saying, “Does this work for me?” “Am I satisfied or fulfilled as a result of this way of living?” And while Jesus did come to make you whole and fill you with abundant life (John 10:10), a sign of growth in your faith is that you increasingly gain capacity to not only seek your own good but to give your life away for the good of others.
We live in an indulgent society that encourages us at every turn to give in to every desire or want that we have. In fact, advertisers have mastered the ability to not only fulfill our desires but to create brand new desires. They give us what we want before we even know that we want it! As a result, our lives increasingly turn inwards, with personal happiness and fulfillment being the single most important filter by which we assess our quality of life.
In the early days of the church, people were suspicious that Paul’s ministry might have been motivated by similar concerns. “Is he doing this to make a buck or personally gain from the rapid growth of the church?” Mindful of this, Paul goes out of his way to show that his ministry is solely for their good and the advance of the good news of Jesus, so much so that he will happily deny and reject funds and material goods that may even be his right to receive. He would rather live in simplicity and even poverty if necessary in order to do nothing to hinder the message he so boldly proclaimed.
While you may never find yourself in full time vocational ministry, every one of us has much that we can learn from Paul’s example. To be a Christian is to give your life away for the good of the other. Your fulfillment is found, not in what you gain, but in what you give. As the Prayer of St. Francis reminds us, “It is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.”
May the love of God so deeply penetrate your heart that you freely let go of your claims to affluence, success, or cultural respect so that others may encounter the love of Jesus in and through you.
Father, give us the faithful endurance and courage to endure any hardships that may come our way in order to see others come to know your love, peace, and joy. Amen.
How can you give yourself away today for the sake of the gospel?
Fulfillment is found, not in what we gain, but in what we give. #wisdomhunters #fulfillment
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