I love it when my Bible reading grips me and really moves me! I would love to say that I have feeling every single day, but that wouldn’t be truthful. Lately, however, I’ve been extremely moved by my reading. I love it when I think “This is so good! I have to blog about this!” My desire to blog about something means that it really touched me, so much so that I can’t keep it to myself! Yet again, I will share with from my reading in 2 Corinthians.
I could probably post the whole chapter because it was so good, but that would be super long, so here is 2 Corinthians 6:1-13:
Companions as we are in this work with you, we beg you, please don’t squander one bit of this marvelous life God has given us. God reminds us,
I heard your call in the nick of time;
The day you needed me, I was there to help.
Well, now is the right time to listen, the day to be helped. Don’t put it off; don’t frustrate God’s work by showing up late, throwing a question mark over everything we’re doing. Our work as God’s servants gets validated—or not—in the details. People are watching us as we stay at our post, alertly, unswervingly . . . in hard times, tough times, bad times; when we’re beaten up, jailed, and mobbed; working hard, working late, working without eating; with pure heart, clear head, steady hand; in gentleness, holiness, and honest love; when we’re telling the truth, and when God’s showing his power; when we’re doing our best setting things right; when we’re praised, and when we’re blamed; slandered, and honored; true to our word, though distrusted; ignored by the world, but recognized by God; terrifically alive, though rumored to be dead; beaten within an inch of our lives, but refusing to die; immersed in tears, yet always filled with deep joy; living on handouts, yet enriching many; having nothing, having it all.
Dear, dear Corinthians, I can’t tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life. We didn’t fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren’t small, but you’re living them in a small way. I’m speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively!
I found myself nodding as I was reading this! It just came to life in The Message. I’ve read this passage numerous times in the NIV and while I knew it was important, it never really hit me the way it did this go around. I think this time I could see pieces of myself in the passage. I’m no where near as cool as Paul, I can’t raise my hand and say that is me – I’m all in, I know what that looks like in its entirety. There were parts where I knew exactly what he meant and others where I know I haven’t been there, I haven’t lived that call. While my lifestyle is very different from Paul’s, I hope that if faced with each of the situations mention that I would chose to go through with it – all of it. There is great good listed and great pain. Am I willing to have one and not the other? Ministry has it’s highs and lows, will I accept them as they come? I think that Paul makes an excellent point when he tells the Corinthians that he didn’t fence them in. They are doing it themselves!!! Their lives aren’t small, but they are living them in that way. It makes me wonder in what ways have I fenced myself in. Am I living a small life or am I running in wide-open spaces? To me, it all comes down to being all in. I can’t have one or the other. I have to embrace the good and the bad in order to have the kind of life that Paul is taking about. By keeping myself from pain or hurt, am I building fences in my life? These are just some of the thoughts bouncing around in my head. It’s so good when God’s word really opens up your heart and makes you start to evaluate and re-prioritize!
So my questions to you (and me) are this: Do you see yourself in this passage? How can you relate to Paul? What things did he list that you haven’t experienced? Are you willing to? Are you held captive in a pasture or are you roaming free in wide-open spaces?