I was really struck by a couple of words in the second half of Philippians 1 while I was preparing for last night’s sermon. I realised the true sincerity of Paul because of hte following.
Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.
(underling, quite obviously, mine…)
Here is a man who is gaol. We don’t know if he’s in Rome, Ephesus or Caesarea, but what we do know is that he isn’t in a good situation. In verse 13 he says “I am in chains for Christ”. Like all gaoled people you expect him to talk about his deliverance, but his heavenly perspective comes into stark contrast when he follows it up with his wish that “Christ be exalted whether by life or by death.”
Paul has grabbed on to the promise of a resurrection with both hands. There is no “foot in both camps”, but a wholehearted longing for those things which are promised in Christ Jesus. I long for, and admit that I most often fail to attain, that kind of sincerity. I eagerly await the time when the Lord calls me home, but at the same time I want to suck the marrow out of this world just in case….
Well full-time gospel ministry is proving to be a good wakeup call in some regards. Not enough hours in the day. So many opportunities to be opening up & sharing with people. Making a difference in lives, or just trying to make connections. I can see that the very thing that makes this dangerous (that tiredness point where you see the work you do as a job, rather than a gracious gift from God) is also the thing that can make the work so helpful (setting aside your own interests to serve others.)
Of course, I don’t want to come across smelling like a saint here (like chocolate and rosehip in my imagination). I am still as lazy as I have been throughout most of my life. I am sure I will look back at this time in a decade & wonder how I managed to fill so many hours with so little work! In the mean time, I’ll continue to work & continue to pray that God would mold my heart, that I would be a person who serves in sincerity & looks forward to that day when I leave this earth & am called to serve in heaven.
Gloria in excelsis Deo!