March 13
‘If you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel.’ Colossians 1:23a
Bible reading: 1 Corinthians 9:15-23 (Go to the Bible passage)
Whoever thinks that preaching the gospel is a nice way to spend one’s leisure time, will hopefully be cured for good of that misunderstanding, when he has read this passage attentively.
Paul was called upon by Jesus, and therefore he felt compelled to preach the gospel. He did not do it voluntarily, for he was driven to do it by God: ‘Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!’ (:16). But Paul did not preach as a sulking laborer, he was staking his whole life on it. ‘I do all this for the sake of the gospel,’ (:23). These are two sides of the same coin. On the one hand Paul was no volunteer - for he was compelled to do it - and on the other hand, he committed himself to it with the devotion of his entire life. Only those who also received a calling from Jesus will understand what Paul has written here.
Once I was in a meeting with well-known workers in God’s kingdom and I felt very small among them, even more so when the man sitting next to me turned and said, ‘Herman, a vocation you cannot draw towards yourself. A true vocation you will attempt to avoid, until you will happily give in to it.’ Now, years later, I realize the truth of this paradox.
Our entire life with the Lord is full of surprising contradictions. Those who are born again in the Spirit cannot rely on dead and dry certainties, but only on God himself, Who teaches us to remain standing in the storms of a tumultuous life. For wherever is true life, there will be movement: a constant motion towards the future. Then our aim in life is to give life, and so to share in the blessings of the gospel more and more ourselves.

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