Friday, May 17, 2013

Odd Jobs of the Tent Maker

“But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24).

Paul was never seen as a lazy man. In fact, he preached against the attitude of slothfulness: “For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either” (2 Thessalonians 3:10). He was someone who was never too prideful to ask for help from the church, but he was also never too lazy to give his all to see his own needs being met. His work in the physical side of his life was only outdone by the work he did in the spiritual side. He gave his all to everything associated to the work of the kingdom: “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come” (2 Timothy 4:6). Paul was a man that never shied away from getting his hand dirty as a worker.

One of his “odd jobs” in his spiritual work was as an accountant. He said he did not consider his life of any account as dear to himself. Accountants have been trained to place proper value on the proper priorities of life. They counsel others on what and what not is worthy of their hard earned dollar. Paul saw his life as a gift from God and he was not going to use it for his own purpose. He understood God as Creator, meaning God gave him life, and he was going to use it for his Lord’s glory and not his own. Also, he did not see it as too valuable to risk for God’s purpose. What he had been given in this life was never his to take credit for so he was going to make sure everything that he owned was going to be used to bring glory and honor to God. He knew any other way of viewing his life would have been a hindrance to accomplishing the Lord’s will.

Another odd job of the tentmaker was that of a runner. He associated his life with a long distance runner. He was going to live in a way that would bring him the prize: “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win” (1 Corinthians 9:24). Paul did not see himself as trying to earn God’s prize but knew it would take endurance to complete the race. And that is what a winner is when it comes to the prize of salvation, someone who will endure the pains of the race and finish the course (Revelation 2:10). An ancient event in the Olympics was a race that began with lighting a torch. The runner then would go through a rigorous course of high winds, water and other obstacles that would be set up to put their flame out. The objective was not to be the first runner to complete the course, but to finish the race with the torch still lit. Our course has been set in this world in which we are living. Satan is using the trials in our lives as obstacles to put the flame of our faith out. We must be like Paul and run in a manner that will keep the fire burning brightly.

The final odd job in this text is found in the idea of Paul being a steward. He knew the ministry in which he was toiling was given to him by His Lord. He understood that God had entrusted him to do well with the message of the good news of Christ (1Timothy 1:11). The last thing Paul wanted to do was go to see His God knowing he did not do his best with what God had placed under his stewardship. And we should have the same mindset when it comes to spreading the gospel. God has called us to work and given us the tools we need for victory. The only thing that will cause us to fail is our lack of obligation (Romans 1:14-16). We have been given the same treasure as Paul and we should have the same diligent mindset to do what is right with what God has given each of us. He has given us life. Let’s give our life to see His life in those around us.

In His Grace,

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