Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! 1 Cor. 9:16
But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. Acts 20:24
Dear Lord Jesus, I know that "to woe" is to express dread, distress, and despair---an orientation toward life with which I'm quite familiar, for I've certainly done my share of "woe-ing." That's why this small portion of the Word is so convicting and refreshing. Paul's woes weren't attached to personal disappoint, loss or dread, but to the utter privilege, joy and honor of sharing the gospel! Oh to be much less self-absorbed, and much more smitten and taken up with the gospel.
"Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! Woe is me is anything keeps me from living as a conduit of the grace and truth of Jesus." O the freedom of this man's soul. Make us the kind of people, like Paul, who are so taken and captured with the gospel that all of life is measured in terms of the gospel---who you are and what you're up to, Jesus.
May our joys be defined by the incalculable riches of the gospel. May our worship be shaped by the innumerable delights of the gospel. May our thinking be shaped by the liberating truths of the gospel. May our dreams be fueled with the wondrous future of the gospel. May our tears be multiplied by the privilege of suffering for the gospel. May our hopes be bound up with the guaranteed advancing of the gospel.
May our peace be strengthened by the resurrection power of the gospel. May our relationships be transformed by the incomparable sweetness of the gospel. May our choices be regulated by the kingdom priorities of the gospel. May our satisfaction be intensified by the fruit-bearing presence of the gospel. May our woes be primarily determined by how little we "get" of the gospel.
We're not all gospel preachers, in terms of gifts and calling, but every one of us is called to be consumers and conduits of the gospel of your grace and kingdom. What an incredible and eternal privilege. Forgive us, Jesus, when we waste our woes by simply numbering, rehearsing and marinating in our disappointments. So very Amen we pray in your peerless and priceless name.