Lately, I've been thinking about the lifestyle of the apostles. I have been considering what they went through to be servants of Christ, and all they endured to be able to preach the gospel. They lived a life so different from anything we have known, or might aspire to. Really think about it: Paul got up about seven, went to Shoney's for breakfast, strolled into the office about nine, asked his secretary about his day's schedule, studied for his Sunday sermon from ten until twelve, went to lunch with a church member, got back around 1:30, looked at his Sunday School lesson for thirty minutes, counseled with a church member for an hour, and then decided the weather was so nice; he took the rest of the afternoon off to go play golf. Absolutely not, his life and the lives of the other apostles were nothing like that; yet sadly, that more than passes for our presenting our bodies a living sacrifice and our reasonable service. Let me tell you something, the man who penned those words made it clear that he had an appointment to keep; and it wasn't to condole with sister so and so from the church whose cat ran away. He said, we apostles are bringing up the rear of the parade: as those who are appointed unto death.
Paul said they were made a spectacle in front of men and angels. They were hungry and thirsty, clothed in rags as the NIV has it, roughly treated and homeless. We work with our hands, we bless and we speak kindly, and all the while we are reviled, persecuted and defamed. Think about what it would be like if someone showed up on Sunday morning beaten, hungry and wearing visibly tattered clothing. How many of us wouldn't at least say this in our hearts? "Please, get that mess out of here. You're welcome to come back on Monday or Tuesday and help yourself to some day old or week old bread and whatever tin cans we have rolling around in the church pantry." How many would flatly throw them out, thinking they were doing service to God by keeping things decent and in order? Who among us, would give them an honored place and serve them from our coffee and doughnuts? And who would trade places with them for Christ's sake?
Listen, we are talking about God working in us, and I am sorry to disappoint, but that doesn't mean penthouses and luxury cars. God working in us produces the marks of the cross. Our lives ought not to be lived from one cheeseburger to the next; and maybe when we get a little hungry, we'll see what God wants from us, instead of what we want from Him. God bless you all.
I Corinthians 4:7-17