years ago, i regularly read Oswald Chamber's classic devotional, My Utmost For His Highest, and regularly [and by regularly, i mean daily], my friend Oswald kicked me in the butt spiritually.
this morning, as i sit here in calgary, the fact that i did not bring a devotional book with me, i found my old friend online, and read today's entry. here it is.
THE DELIGHT OF SACRIFICE
"I will very gladly spend and be spent for you;"2 Corinthians 12:15
When the Spirit of God has shed abroad the love of God in our hearts, we begin deliberately to identify ourselves with Jesus Christ's interests in other people, and Jesus Christ is interested in every kind of man there is. We have no right in Christian work to be guided by our affinities; this is one of the biggest tests of our relationship to Jesus Christ. The delight of sacrifice is that I lay down my life for my Friend, not fling it away, but deliberately lay my life out for Him and His interests in other people, not for a cause. Paul spent himself for one purpose only - that he might win men to Jesus Christ. Paul attracted to Jesus all the time, never to himself. "I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some."
When a man says he must develop a holy life alone with God, he is of no more use to his fellow men: he puts himself on a pedestal, away from the common run of men. Paul became a sacramental personality; wherever he went, Jesus Christ helped Himself to his life. Many of us are after our own ends, and Jesus Christ cannot help Himself to our lives. If we are abandoned to Jesus, we have no ends of our own to serve. Paul said he knew how to be a "door-mat" without resenting it, because the mainspring of his life was devotion to Jesus. We are apt to be
devoted, not to Jesus Christ, but to the things which emancipate us spiritually. That was not Paul's motive. "I could wish my self were accursed from Christ for my brethren" - wild, extravagant - is it? When a man is in love it is not an exaggeration to talk in that way, and Paul is in love with Jesus Christ.
there is so much in here, that i hardly know where to begin. okay, so maybe i do know where to begin: "We have no right in Christian work to be guided by our affinities; this is one of the biggest tests of our relationship to Jesus Christ." Ouch. How often do i even come close to passing this test? Has there ever been a day when i was completely free of my own agenda? If there has been, i cannot recall it. even when during missions,there i am with all my demands.
"If we are abandoned to Jesus, we have no ends of our own to serve." This seems so elusive, having no ends of my own, but i have to work towards this. i have to learn to serve whether or not the people i am serving appreciate, acknowledge or accept it. i must learn to love and to always hope when i am dealing with people. i must push past my tendancy to be hopelessly jaded.
may Paul's attitude be reflected in me...