With others on the ladder
Paul’s passion was written across his face. He wanted to do nothing but spread the gospel. He literally would have done anything to ensure that all he came into contact with heard the liberating message. He was passionate about the fact that everyone should hear the truth. That is why he was so upset about the “prophets” sneaking around Corinth and twisting the truth.
Paul was actually afraid of going back to the congregation, because he was afraid of what he would do. He was afraid of losing his cool and saying things about these people, losing his name in the process. He cared so much for the people that he literally would’ve done anything. Paul saw all of them as his children: 14… I have no interest in what you have—only in you. Children shouldn’t have to look out for their parents; parents look out for the children. But his passion didn’t stop there: 15 I’d be most happy to empty my pockets, even mortgage my life, for your good. Paul’s love for them was so great that he would even have given his life for them
Wow, so much love.
I considered for a long time whether I would be prepared to give my life for other people, people who did not always do the right thing, people who slept around and did what they wanted to. Yes, they had heard to truth and they knew what was wrong and what was right, but they chose against the truth and took the wrong road. Wouldn’t I have given up and said: “Sorry, boys, I’ve had enough”? I’ve spent so much effort and energy and money and time on you, but now I’m leaving. You keep going down the road to hell. Bump your heads, because that is where your choices will get you.
But Paul simply loved them too much to do something like that. He would’ve done anything. He would’ve given anything of himself. Yes, even his life so that he could one day receive his inheritance from God.
Again I sat for a long time wondering whether I would be prepared to give my life so that some crooks could go to heaven one day. In struggling to say yes to this question, I realize that I focus too much on my earthly possessions and think too little about other people and the road they have to walk. Life has taught me that I have to work hard to climb up the ladder of life. It’s all about me and all that I have to collect. Yes, I know I’m going to heaven, I have chosen the Lord. But now we’re confronted with the people who are with us on the ladder of life. Where are they going?
Am I prepared to give up my position on the ladder and all my possessions for the people climbing the ladder with me? How strong is my love for others? I realize I have to be different. I realize I have to lift my eyes to focus on the others. I must have them in my sights and like Paul, I must have a heart for them. I must ask God to help me sacrifice my time, money and energy, and, yes, my life, for the sake of other people walking with me through life. I may be their only chance to get to heaven.
Who is with you on the ladder?
How much do you love them?
Are you prepared to give up your place for them?
Lord, I realize that I focus far too much on my own life and do not really see other people. Lord, please open my eyes so that I can see them. Please give me a heart for others. Make me full of compassion to invite those that I meet to share in Your grace and love, so that we will see one another in heaven one day. Amen