From Self-Sufficiency to Surrender - Part 3
“Lord, as I prepare to learn Your ways, please give me a heart of understanding that I may follow on the path You have set before me”.
Read: 1 Thessalonians 2:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:7-10
“For you remember our labor and hardship, brothers. Working night and day so that we would not burden any of you, we preached God’s gospel to you”.
“For you yourselves know how you must imitate us: We were not irresponsible among you; we did not eat anyone’s food free of charge; instead, we labored and struggled, working night and day, so that we would not be a burden to any of you. It is not that we don’t have the right to support, but we did it to make ourselves an example to you so that you would imitate us. In fact, when we were with you, this is what we commanded you: ‘If anyone isn’t willing to work, he should not eat.’” (Holman Christian Standard Bible [HCSB])
In reflecting on today’s passages, a phrase from the movie, Spiderman, keeps running through my mind. “With great power comes great responsibility”. The Apostle Paul spent his life after his conversion preaching the gospel of Christ in areas that would not be considered easy places to deliver that message. As churches began to form and grow, he could have easily allowed these churches to become his sole means of material support, perhaps paying him for his teaching, providing food, shelter, and clothing for him and his assistants. Paul had surrendered himself to the will of God, and he trusted God to provide. He also understood that part of his great responsibility was to demonstrate that nobody gets a free ride; it takes work to make things work - even faith.
Surrender and trust are not demonstrated by doing nothing. God intends for us to take responsibility for our behavior, to work with our hands and to use the gifts and resources He has provided for us both to sustain us and to help His kingdom on earth continue to be in motion, moving toward the day of His return.
“Father, at the end of my days when I stand before You, the words I long to hear more than any others are ‘well done, good and faithful servant’. Please continue Your work in my life so this desire may be fulfilled”.