Today’s Bible readings are 2 Chronicles 14:1-16:14, Romans 9:1-24, Psalm 19:1-4, & Proverbs 20:1
With Christ as my witness, I speak with utter truthfulness. My conscience and the Holy Spirit confirm it. 2 My heart is filled with bitter sorrow and unending grief 3 for my people, my Jewish brothers and sisters. I would be willing to be forever cursed—cut off from Christ!—if that would save them.
When I read these words that were written by Paul, I hear his passion for reaching the people that he loved. I can almost see the desperation in his eyes as his heart aches for the people that needed Jesus. He was willing to spend in life in order that some might be reached. Yet, his heart was that all could be reached.
God called Paul to the ministry & put a love in his heart to reach people. After all the success that Paul had it would have been easy for him to sit back & relax in his accomplishments. That is what a lot of people do. What kept Paul for doing this was this relentless passion that was in his heart to see the world won for Jesus.
It must have been like a plague for him. No matter what he did it was a burden that never left him—the burden to reach the lost. I’m sure that there were times when the burden for the souls of the lost:
1. Drove Paul to intense prayer.
2. Caused him to weep in anguish.
3. Left him sleepless.
4. Was something that he tried to get away from.
5. Sent him to his knees.
6. Brought him to screaming.
7. Caused problems for him.
Yet, with all of this Paul lived his life in the hope & anticipation that God would save at least one from the darkness that he himself had been trapped in. If that could happen, then it was worth it for Paul.
Why have we lost that passion for souls? Why is it that so many other things have become of greater importance to us than the reaching of the lost? Church life revolves around a bunch of stuff that JUST DOESN”T MATTER!
1. We get mad because they don’t play the music we like.
2. Something changes without our permission so we get offended.
3. Maybe you didn’t get the visit that you felt you deserved.
4. Some new person gets more attention than you.
It seems to me that we gravitate toward self-centeredness. We fall into the trap of thinking that it has to be ALL ABOUT US.
1. It should be what I like.
2. It should be what I enjoy.
3. It should be MY decision.
4. They should listen to ME.
5. They should make sure I’M happy.
6. They need to make sure that I’M ministered to.
7. They should consider MY feelings.
These are all the things that I hear on a regular basis from so many people. Yet, when I read the words of Paul I hear HIS GREAT CONCERN FOR OTHERS!!! He makes it clear that he would gladly give his life if it would result in his brothers & sisters coming to know Jesus. I don’t think that was just lip service either. He ended up spending his life for the gospel. He poured it out for others.
What will it take to get us back to a place of true humility? What is necessary in order for us to break free from the trap of self? When will we awaken to the reality that we are drifting down a path of selfishness? When will we taste the awful flavor of self-absorption?
Paul’s love for the lost is what kept him faithful to the ministry God had entrusted to him. It was His pursuit of Jesus that lead to the endless joy that he shared while he lived & worked for the King. It was the hope of winning more that kept him running so diligently. It was his willingness to be last in this life that caused so many to be impacted by him.