For Serving The Lord
26 October 2015
Reading: Ephesians 4; Psalm 99
Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. (Ephesians 4:1 NLT)
Paul was a prisoner awaiting trial in Rome when he wrote this letter to the Ephesus church he loved so much. It had been a touching, heart-rending moment on the beach at Miletus when Paul said goodbye to the Ephesian elders for the final time (See Acts 20:16-38). Now, five years later, he was writing them from prison.
He was in prison because he was faithfully serving the Lord and wouldn’t compromise his faith or the mission God had given him. His faith and his faithful service had cost him hard work, hardship, persecution, beatings, loss of material possessions, and now imprisonment. The rewards of his faith, apart from the satisfaction of obedience, were entirely other-worldly. Yet Paul was consistently optimistic and uncomplaining.
I’ve got so far to go and so much to learn! I seem to expect my service to the Lord to cost me nothing and to bless me in every way. The emphasis in God’s Word is that the blessing for serving the Lord is often and primarily eternal, other-worldly blessing and reward. The benefits or rewards we receive in this life are sweet and good, but they don’t represent the whole picture.
The sweet taste of prosperity and popularity is a lot easier to swallow than the bitter pill of suffering and sacrifice, but if I’m honest about the life of faith I know that there’s a time for one as well as the other. It’s hard to keep a proper perspective between the Cost of Discipleship and the Rewards of Serving.
Father, Please forgive me for complaining when things don’t always go my way. I can’t say I’ll never do it again, but I’m thankful for this reminder that even when serving you is rewarded by hardship, it’s worth it. Unlike Paul, I’m not a prisoner for serving the Lord. But like Paul, I have the privilege of serving at the pleasure of the King of the Universe! Thank you for your grace. May I lead a life worthy of my calling. Amen.