1 Corinthians 9:23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.
Those who preach the Gospel receive the Gospel as well. The Good News is big enough for all! Paul is such a magnificent example because he believed the things he said. There were moments when even he wavered, and God had to tell him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) However, he endured to the end, and there is no question that he indeed received the crown of righteousness that he told us about. (2 Timothy 4:8) Nowhere did Paul claim any exclusive benefits for himself. He understood that God’s grace is exactly that, and it was and is available to all. I think that Paul was forever amazed that God had chosen him, of all people, and his awareness of God’s love and grace drove him. (2 Corinthians 5:14) He had ample reason to tell others to imitate him, (1 Corinthians 4:16) because he was so focused on Christ. The challenge for us today is whether we can cut through all the distractions and follow Christ fully ourselves, even as we seek to share the Gospel with others.
This whole section feels very close to home, because I have made my living from the Gospel for less than two years out of 40 years of ministry. The irony is that even so, some people have accused me of wanting more people in the church so I could get more money! I do feel that I have no choice but to share the abundance of truth the Lord has poured out on me. I do know that my personal reward is sure, but I would certainly like to see more results “on the ground.” I know that what I share is God’s truth, and it grieves me that so little is received and accepted for what it is. I must never give up, but remember that the weapons I have been given are mighty to the point of tearing down strongholds, (2 Corinthians 10:4) and do the work I have been given whether I see results with my natural eyes or not.
Father, it’s easy to get tired and discouraged. Today I will be dealing yet again with a son in the Lord who is listening to the enemy’s lies instead of to You. May I be strong on his behalf, leading him out of the pit he is in so that he may taste and delight in the abundance of Your grace toward him. Guide me as I prepare message notes for Sunday, that I may communicate what You are saying and not just what sounds good to me – or to them. May I indeed run with patience the race that is set before me, (Hebrews 12:1) so that Your will may be accomplished on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!