As I get older (and as I work with young men and women preparing for Christian service) I find myself looking back on years of service for the Lord and encouraging young emerging leaders to look ahead! I want to look back with satisfaction – gratified at what God has accomplished through my efforts. I urge young leaders to look ahead and serve the Lord with all their hearts – “all in” if you please – so that they will have no regrets!
This morning during “coffee with the Lord” I read Paul’s reflection later in his life about what he had done – and what he resolved to do – as he sought to serve the Lord in apostolic ministry… Here it is in his own words…
“In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to be proud of my work for God! I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles [i.e. “the nations] to obedience—by word and deed, by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God—so that from Jerusalem and all the way around to Illyricum I have fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ! I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation, but as it is written, ‘Those who have never been told of him will see! And those who have never heard will understand!” (Romans 15:17–21 ESV)
“Pride” is a slippery word… filled with all kinds of risks for a “servant of the Lord!’ Paul, however, in this passage, is not talking about arrogance! He is talking about a sense of fulfillment, of satisfaction, of accomplishment, of calling pursued and realized… It’s the same kind of feeling a person has when a difficult task has been tackled and the tools are laid down at the close of the day, with the full knowledge they’ll need to be picked up again tomorrow… My dad, with satisfaction written all over his sweaty face after a busy day of hard work, would put it this way, “Well, that’s done… for today!”
Listen, I want that kind of attitude at the end of my “day” of labor! I covet it for every young servant of the Lord I am privileged to mentor! I’ll work hard and won’t be satisfied “until the whole world knows!”