But I have made no use of any of these rights, nor am I writing these things to secure any such provision. For I would rather die than have anyone deprive me of my ground for boasting. For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward, but if not of my own will, I am still entrusted with a stewardship. (1 Corinthians 9:15-17, ESV)
“If I do this of my own will…” My prayer is that I am never led by my own will as I post here. There are many things that my own will would have me post, but there are fewer things that God has entrusted to me as stewardship.
My reward, then, is not in having more shares or likes or tweets. If it were, then that would be my reward, and such outcomes are more likely to burn in the fires of judgement. Instead, I post the things that burn within my heart, that beat as a ferocious passion…and my reward is simply that I have been a good steward for Christ.
These passions are not fleeting. Not commentary on how others should live or what we’re all doing wrong. Believe me, I could write posts upon posts about such things or comment anonymously on a blog and give scathing remarks. But that’s not the heart of the gospel. That’s not the heartbeat of our Father or of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Paul writes that his preaching gives him no grounds for boasting because necessity is laid upon him. He has to preach or his soul withers away. I have seen that in my own life and in the life of my husband. When there is no outlet, even to a few, there is a death of the soul. Dear Reader, I am not coming to you to lord the Scriptures over you or to shout from the mountains of the Internet how my way is better. There is only one Way, and that is Christ.
Rather, in a world that is full of others’ insights, I am simply working up the courage to share my own. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel, this one passion that burns ever hotter in my heart! Woe to me if I do not share Truth, the beauty of our Lord Jesus Christ! Woe to me if I do not type out these thoughts, if I do not learn to be brave, if I cannot, with Esther, say with resolve, “If I perish, I perish!” Woe to me, and yes, to you, if we fail to courageously sow the seed, if we fail to reap the harvest intended for us!
Whereas God is leading me here, may I ask where He is leading you? Where are you refusing obedience because it hurts or it’s not what you’d rather do? Where are you telling Him no, and how long will He suffer you to answer Him such? Obedience, dear Reader, brings joy. Always. Even when it hurts or it’s uncomfortable…it brings joy. And a sigh of relief that you have finally done what was required of you.
Woe to us all when we fail to do what God has made necessary!