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Blessed in our need!

by:John

Well, as I opened my bible, this morning, which happens to be the morning of my 30th birthday, I was greatly encouraged. I was encouraged by the apostle Paul’s situation that he was in when he wrote the Corinthians. The situation I’m referring to is found in 1 Corinthians 4:8-14. Paul is writing to a church that practiced the gifts of the Spirit and boasted of the grace that they had received. This church was also very affluent, and were apparently not struggling under the same severity of persecutions that the Apostles were facing.
He writes:

“Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! Without us you have become kings! And I wish that you did reign, so that we might share the rule with you! For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death, because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless, and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things. I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children.”
(1Co 4:8-14)

Anyone who has seen the great work that Paul did in the Church, can see that Paul was a man, loved and established by God as an Apostle. Paul, himself was madly in love with Jesus, so much so that he made knowing Jesus, a higher priority in his life than any other pursuit. But, you’d think that anyone so highly favored by God to be chosen as an Apostle, would not be allowed to suffer right? Wouldn’t God adorn His children with riches and good reputations? God would at least ensure that His own Apostles wouldn’t go hungry or thirsty, wouldn’t He? Well, if that were true, then anyone who is poor, hungry or downtrodden could then assume that he/she is not favored by God, and thankfully, that is not the God that we serve.

Rachel and I can really identify with Paul right now. When I read her this passage this morning and then asked her if it spoke to her, she quickly bounced back with an affirmative. We too, have become a sort of “spectacle to the world” not having paying jobs, or much financial security in the worldly sense. Sounds pretty foolish doesn’t it? And, it would be very easy for someone to look at our needs and say, “God isn’t supportive of what you are doing, or you would be seeing more material blessings.” But, Paul said that he thought that God “exhibited the apostles last of all.” Meaning, God set the Apostles up in the world, in such a way that they would be viewed as in last place of the pecking order? Why would God do that? The answer to that question lies in Jesus’ words “the first shall be last and the last shall be first in the age to come.”

And, what’s more is that, any loss experienced by those chosen of God for such a calling is not a sad thing at all. Rather, it is with joy that such material loss is accepted because the alternative reward is so great! As Paul says in Phillipians, “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.”

We, have never gone hungry for His sake. We have never experienced beatings, or name-calling, or anything too severe really. Any persecutions we have faced have been quite minor in comparison to what Paul had to endure. But, it’s helpful to know, when we are going through a tough time, like getting kicked out of the country, that we are in good company. It doesn’t mean that God’s not with us, or not supportive of us. And, in fact, these difficulties are serving to draw us closer to our hearts true desire, Jesus! Only let us find you Lord, in the place where you dwell and our hearts will find their true rest!

Blessed be His name.

2 Responses to “Blessed in our need!”

  1. your mom
    January 7th, 2006 18:10
    1

    My dearest first born, how proud I am of you! that with everything this world has to offer, you have chosen to serve Him. With better joy or happiness could a mother have than this.
    In my eyes you are rich beyound belief and most esteemed for the path you have chosen. Happy birthday and may this year be your most fullfilling in every way. I will see you and your lovely family soon. all my love now and forever……

  2. Jessica
    January 12th, 2006 18:15
    2

    hey john and rachel,

    all i can say is that nathaniel and i can idenitify with the some of what you’re facing. we never were told that life would be easy following Jesus, but its worth it. i hope this 30th year for you, john, is the best yet for you and your lovely family i love so much.

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