October 28, 2010

The Apostles Had It Rough

I'm glad I'm not an apostle...OH NO. Did I say that out loud? The truth is we are all called to live sacrificially and humbly like the apostles. We are called to live sold out for Christ and to spread the word of God like they did. We are called to be lights is the dark world. But it's too hard for most of us. I know it's too hard for me.

1 Corinthians 4:11-13 is where Paul paints a small picture of the sacrifices he made living for Christ. "To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless, as 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."

As I break it down point by point, I look at my own life in comparison and find that I'm never hungry or thirsty, i have nice clothes, no one ever beats me up, and I have a nice warm place to live and sleep. My job can be stressful, but nothing like hard manual labor. Also, during Paul's day, Greeks and some in the church at Corinth thought of manual labor for slaves. On top of that, Paul was trying to preach to the world about Christ. I come home at night and relax like a lazy, tired, fool. When reviled, persecuted, or slandered I attack, defend, and return fire on my accuser. I'm pretty good and striking back with force and a great deal of harm. Unfortunately, as I type that there's a level of pride in that. CRAP! Speaking of that word...Paul finishes this section by calling himself "the scum of the world, the refuse of all things." He calls himself the crap or garbage or trash of the world, knowing that's how he is looked at by society and both Jews and gentiles.

So, back to the beginning...I'm glad I'm not an apostle, but we don't face the kind of persecution Paul did. The United States is so politically correct that no one is even allowed to persecute anyone else. But we are not out there preaching and living the way Paul did either. We don't have the passion of Paul, the zeal of the apostles. We are more like the Corinthians, who thought of themselves as kings. It's time to live as Paul.