What is at the centre of your life?
Paul really appreciated the way in which the Corinthians embraced the Gospel and that they allowed it to change their perspective on life. Even more than that – their whole lives changed and became different. The world in which they lived changed, because they had changed. Others could see the change in them. Others could see their faith.
Paul himself witnessed about them: 14And then, when we saw how Titus felt—his exuberance over your response—our joy doubled. It was wonderful to see how revived and refreshed he was by everything you did. If I went out on a limb in telling Titus how great I thought you were, you didn’t cut off that limb. As it turned out, I hadn’t exaggerated one bit. 15Titus saw for himself that everything I had said about you was true. He can’t quit talking about it, going over again and again the story of your prompt obedience, and the dignity and sensitivity of your hospitality. He was quite overwhelmed by it all! 16And I couldn’t be more pleased—I’m so confident and proud of you.
The Corinthians understood something about the Gospel. Amidst all the opposition and mockery they were prepared to stand up for the new message of salvation. Even more, they were prepared to make a difference there where they were living. Others could see it and experience it personally. They were serious in their commitment to God.
Yes, they did fall back into their old ways at times, but they soon got back up and tried again to live within God’s will. Paul was very proud of them and he was grateful that he could depend on them at all times.
I wonder if Paul would say the same about me. When people look at my life and yours – and, no, not when you’re at church or some kind of spiritual event. No, when you’re in normal day-to-day life, there where things often go off track, will they then be proud of the way in which you live the Gospel? There where people don’t do what you ask them to do; where the client didn’t pay as he had promised to pay; there where the family pulled in a direction different from what you thought was good – could we be proud of your behaviour?
Aunty Gerty baked pancakes. She was a good pancake baker. She baked pancakes when they played jukskei. She baked pancakes for petrol money when they had to travel far to the doctor. But she had a need to use her talents in God’s world. She prayed and put her talents before God. Suddenly a number of organisations contacted her. With her small stove and recipe she went to bazaars, helping schools and aged homes. She said: Do you realise how free this makes me! God gives me the power to get up every morning to help people. This is my service of love to Him. Here where I stand baking I spend special time with Him.
A service to be proud of. A life to be proud of.
In a way we have to shift the goalposts. Much of our energy is spent on hacking out our own road and everything centres on ourselves. Maybe we should purposefully start looking for places to plant the Gospel so that people can experience it personally. Maybe we should focus more on others and their need.
May it be said of us too one day that we have never let anyone down. May God look at each of us one day and say with pride: Yes, you slipped up sometimes, but the getting up and trying again was brave. You made a difference. We are proud of you!
Click here to go to the Scripture: 2 Corinthians 7:8-16
What is at the centre of your life?
Is God proud of what you do?
What can you change?
Our Father, I know that I often slip up in my duty to plant the Gospel wherever I go. I don’t want to be at the centre of my own life. I want to make a real difference. I do not want to let You down. Amen