How easy it is to complain that the weekend is over and we have to go to work! Easy until you read this from Paul in 2 Corinthians 11:24-29; Five times the Jews have given me their punishment of 39 lashes with a whip. Three different times I was beaten with rods. One time I was almost killed with rocks. Three times I was in ships that were wrecked, and one of those times I spent the night and the next day in the sea. In my constant traveling I have been in danger from rivers, from thieves, from my own people, and from people who are not Jews. I have been in danger in cities, in places where no one lives, and on the sea. And I have been in danger from people who pretend to be believers but are not. I have done hard and tiring work, and many times I did not sleep. I have been hungry and thirsty. Many times I have been without food. I have been cold and without clothes. And there are many other problems. One of these is the care I have for all the churches. I worry about each group of believers every day. I feel weak every time another person is weak. I feel deeply upset every time another person is led into sin.
When life is ‘hard’, this seems to put things in perspective for me. My little aches and pains, my petty complaints, all pale in comparison to what Paul went through bringing the good news of the gospel to his world. I don’t believe I have suffered for the sake of the gospel. Oh, I’m not saying I didn’t suffer or haven’t gone through anything at all, I have indeed! But I’ve never been captured and put in prison for my faith. I’ve never been beaten, never once gone down on a ship, obviously never been without food! I wonder how many of us would last if we had to endure any of these things? Would we ‘count it all joy’?
What are we afraid of? Sharing the pure and simple truth that Jesus saves not only from sin, but from sickness, disease, poverty and lack should be the greatest gift we could share with those around us. It’s not something to be hidden or kept secret. Rather it’s something to be shouted from the highest mountain into the lowest valley of hopeless and despair. “Jesus loves you! Yes He does! Jesus loves you and gave His life so you could live free and have hope!” Yet we walk through life focused on ourselves, our needs, our pains and problems. Wishing it was Saturday not Monday. Wishing we didn’t have to go to work. We should be so thankful for the opportunity. We have the answer inside of us and hold it back for fear of ridicule and harassment.
Father, as I begin another week, please help me not to be so focused on ‘me’ that I lose sight of others. Most importantly, that I remember I am not my own, I’ve been bought by a price to dear to ever repay, I am Yours and Yours alone. I’m thankful for all you’ve provided for me for You always meet my needs. Just the fact that I’m alive and free from bondage is enough, but You have made me to rule and reign in life and adopted me as Your own daughter. I will hold my head high and remember what You’ve given me access to. I will share the message of love with others so that they too can be adopted and join our family. It’s in Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen