Focus: 2 Cor 6: 1-13
Paul made it clear in this passage that being called of God requires hardships and sacrifice. He suffered pain from within and without the Church. He even cared for his own financial needs. In my time I have been many things and I have seen many types that called themselves ministers of the Gospel. I have always dedicated myself to my call but I have not always understood it. I have labored and labored hard only to see that I had depleted my own resources with little in return from others. I have had some cry with gratitude only to treat me with disdain and empty promises. My calls for assistance fell on deaf ears. I always felt, I can give the last of what I have because God has always blessed us NOT with plenty but with the ability to get more. I have seen scoundrels elevated while we labored hard only to fall on need. I have felt alone and lonely in my call and I could never understand why God blessed other preachers with success when my success never seemed to materialize. This is what I have learned and what God awakened in me when reading Paul's passage today. I know I have heard this before, but somehow this is different today. To be called of God is to see that call as an avocation and not a vocation. The difference is that a vocation is a job and we labor to see what we can get. In an avocation, we labor to see how much more we can give! This just came to my spirit and answers why I am so content to follow what God is giving me. I have gotten advice from young family that love me that I could be even more popular if I would just preach and write shorter to give people what they want - a feel good message so that the hearer can feel good. This is the Microwave approach. I could try that and I have considered it, but THAT is not my voice. I could not understand why I labored so hard to help and care for others but felt in the end abandoned by the very people who were the recipient of that care. God has called me and not me. I was told recently by a friend that I go out of my way to make simple things harder. It was not a compliment and at first I felt hurt, but in short order I heard, "You can only have peace being who I made you. This is not a popularity contest. I have called YOU for a time such as this! Some may think you talk too much and say that to you in their own veiled way, but your only concern should be are you saying what I have given you to say? It is not your concern to worry how it is received. Just speak accordingly to the Spirit I have given you". I have a peace about my calling and my service now that I never had before. I was secretly looking for accolades, popularity, and notoriety because I never saw myself as goid enough rather than looking for satisfaction and obedience. I am the best me that God has made. God will send those to me who want to hear from God in me. I will make some angry with me. They will read a little but stop due to the length. Some will read every word and want more. Others will push me away as a blow hard, but my hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness. I dare not trust this sweet refrain but wholly lean on Jesus' name. On Christ the solid rock I stand. All other ground is sinking sand! I did not strike out on my call from God to live well. I can care for myself. God will give me justice. This is My day and I won't be diverted from this vision of God! Now I can see clearly! Praise God! Peace at last!