Saturday, October 6th,
rights reserved © message by Kris Jackson
I will very gladly spend and be spent for you..." (2 Corinthians 12:15)
Paul's willingness to "spend and be spent" is a
sermon in itself but in this devotion I want to focus on the adverb "gladly".
If Paul would gladly do what is wildly sacrificial should we not be willing to
gladly do that which is least? "Sally, will you wash the dishes?" "Matt, will
you pick up your toys?" "Roy, could you run to the store and get some milk and
eggs?" The speedy answer to all the above is, "Gladly!" But we both know that
isn't typical. Most intrusions are met with a sneer if not outright defiance.
We follow orders and/or obey the will of God displaying a martyr's complex.
"Okay, my lord, I will gladly go to the gallows for you...and vacuum the
carrrrr". Or, "I have humbly acceeeepppted the caaaallll to preeeaaachh, ugh."
Words are stretched long to match our long faces. We respond gloomily instead
Paul used this word twice in this chapter -
"Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of
Christ may rest upon me" (vs 9). "And I will gladly spend and be spent for
you..." (vs 15) He would gladly suffer and gladly spend. An earlier verse said,
"They that gladly received the word were baptized" (Acts 2:41). The righteous
gladly welcome reproof. Many in Bible days were persecuted for their faith (as
many still are today), and it says that they "joyfully accepted the plundering
of [their] goods..." (Hebrews 10:34) That reveals that gladly facing life with
its hardships requires a special grace from the Holy Spirit. But His grace is
sufficient and being filled with that grace we can accept every trial as a
blessing in disguise.
Paul said he would gladly spend and be spent
"for you", which in the marginal reading says "for your souls". Coping is much
easier when done with God's big picture in mind. We are not sacrificing to earn
brownie points or to prove some religious point. We spend because it is for
men's "souls". Self is not the center of the universe or even the You-niverse.
Life isn't life until it includes others. Paul found that when he spent for
others he got back more than he gave. The text kind of says otherwise. It adds,
"...though the more abundantly I love you, the less I am loved". That may happen
as to outward appearance but the heart has its own reward when it loves, spends
and gives, even if there is no love in reciprocation. The fact that Paul's
spending was done "for your souls" was reward enough for him. That gave his
sacrifices eternal value. A person can give his body to be burned for another
but if it isn't done through God's love then "it profits me nothing" (1
Corinthians 13:3). A person can stand at the burning stake and whine, complain,
rag on everyone else, blame and squeal, and it becomes just another barbecue (not
the best analogy). Or you can take a stoning like Stephen did (gladly) and
pray, "Lay not this sin to their charge" (Acts 7:60). Stoning or burning at the
stake is the extreme analogy. Obviously, I am talking instead about things like
getting up for work, taking out the trash and being on time for Church. The
reward goes to those who do so gladly, not gloomily.