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I Am What I Am

 

 

The Apostle Paul was, indeed, an apostle. He met all the requirements of an apostle and served like an apostle should. But there were those who questioned his apostleship. Even Paul said in 1 Cor. 14:9: "I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God, I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect." What a declaration! And what a humble servant.

 

Even though he was an apostle, he never used that for leverage to get out of something or to get something he did not deserve. In the very next sentence, he states: "No, I worked harder than all of them -- yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me."

 

A college student went shopping for a fancy homecoming dress that her father had promised. When she returned from the store, she called her dad to confess that the one she had picked was more expensive than what he had allotted. She quickly offered to pay the difference but her father replied, "Don't worry about it. Just work hard and make good grades. That will be payment enough." There was an uneasy silence on the phone; then she asked, "Dad, couldn't I just pay you back instead?"1

 

Isn't that funny? For Paul, though, the privilege of working hard for God was indeed a privilege. But some, it seems, are afraid of a little hard work, at least for the church. Believe it or not, I know some wealthy people who would rather pay someone else to do their church work rather than work hard themselves. Paul sets for us a great example. And something else that speaks to my heart through verse 10 is that he did it without complaining.

 

How are we doing? Take a moment to think about those who do a lot of the work in the church you attend. Are you in that group? If not, why not? Is there more you could be doing for your family of faith that you're just not yet doing? Please ask God to reveal to you which group you're in; there are three.

 

First, there's the group that does little but receives a lot.

 

Second, there's the group that does a lot, and then complains about it.

 

Third, there's the group that follows Paul's example and works hard, does it for the Lord, and doesn't complain.

 

If God reveals to you that you're in the first group, please ask Him to show you what He would have you to be doing for Him through your church...and then get to work in obedience to Him.

 

If you're in the second group, pray that God will regain control over your attitude and then restore your joy. If indeed you're doing too much, and then complaining about it, ask God to forgive you; and then ask your Pastor who might give you some relief.

 

If you're in the third group, pray that God will keep you there and keep a close watch on your attitude so that you don't slip into one of the other categories.

 

We all need to spend quality time before the Lord daily seeking His face about how He wants us to serve Him. And then, like Paul, we need to do it with all our hearts to the glory of God.

 

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1Reader's Digest, Dec. 1996, p. 202.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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Copyright 2012. Faith Matters by Dr. Ken Lovelace. All rights reserved.

 


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