February 14th, 2007
Unfortunately, if you are a follower of Jesus, there is a significant risk that others will treat you like garbage. As Paul said in today’s reading, “When people curse us, we bless them. When persecuted, we endure it. When insulted, we respond gently. We are like the world’s garbage, everybody’s refuse, even until today.” This is just part of the cost of following Jesus. If you just want a gentle, peace-filled existence — and most of us do — then you have to wait for the next life. In the present life we can experience joy and love in following Jesus, but there is also a high cost to pay.
Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians — Chapter 4
4:1 Think of us as Christ’s servants, and managers of God’s mysteries. 4:2 Managers must prove to be faithful. 4:3 It matters little to me if I am judged by you, or by any human authority. I do not even judge myself. 4:4 I am not aware of anything against myself, but that does not make me innocent. The Lord is the one who judges me. 4:5 Judge nothing in advance, before the Lord comes to bring to light the things hidden in darkness and reveal the heart’s motives. Then each person will receive appropriate recognition from God.
4:6 Friends I have used myself and Apollos by way of example for you, so that you can learn not to add complications to the original message, and so that you do not become proud of following one as against another. 4:7 Who makes you different? And what do you have that was not given to you? If it was given to you, why do you boast as if it was not given to you? 4:8 You already have enough. You have become rich. You have become kings in our absence. I wish that you really were kings, so that we could be kings with you. 4:9 I think that God has put us apostles on display last of all, like men sentenced to death. We have become a side show for the world, both angels and men. 4:10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You have honour, but we have dishonour.
4:11 To this present hour we are hungry, thirsty, unclothed, battered, and homeless. 4:12 We toil, working with our own hands. When people curse us, we bless them. When persecuted, we endure it. 4:13 When insulted, we respond gently. We are like the world’s garbage, everybody’s refuse, even until today. 4:14 I do not write these things to embarrass you, but to warn you as my beloved children. 4:15 You have ten thousand Christian teachers, but not many fathers. I fathered you in Christ Jesus through the good news. 4:16 So please be imitators of me. 4:17 This is why I have sent to you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, who will remind you of my guidelines for living in Christ, which I teach everywhere in every church.
4:18 Some of you have become conceited, as if I was not coming to you. 4:19 But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord is willing. And I will discover, not what these arrogant people are saying, but what power they have. 4:20 The Kingdom of God is not about talk, but about power. 4:21 What do you want? Shall I come to you with a stick, or in love and a spirit of gentleness?
Entry Filed under: Perseverance