2 Corinthians 12:14-15
Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you; and I will not be burdensome to you: for I seek not your’s, but you: for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children. And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.
This is Paul’s heart in ministry. He gave everything he had to his work and service. He loved these people to an extreme. But he did not really expect anything in return. His reward did not come from those he served, but it came in obeying God. It came in bringing God glory and receiving God’s blessings upon his life. It came in the fulfillment of his own relationship with Christ that was built through his service and being used for the purpose that God had prepared him for. It came in the hope he had for his one true longing, which was to one day go and be with his Lord and Savior.
We are certainly not all like Paul, and the majority of Christians will not have such an expansive and far-reaching ministry, but we do each have a purpose to fulfill, a calling upon our lives. And fulfilling our own unique calling is our reward. We grow in our relationship with Christ through living out that service to Him. In many cases, others will benefit from that, but our portion is pleasing Christ, knowing Him better, and growing in that closeness and intimacy that develops from our obedience to what we were created to do. That is where our fulfillment should come.
Paul’s specific calling was made clear to him by Jesus upon his conversion on the Damascus road. And immediately he went forth into that, putting all of his heart and soul into that ministry. And God reveals His specific will for us in different ways and at different times. As He leads us along, our eyes will be opened to the tasks He has for us that only we can complete. And as we continue to follow and obey, each step is made clear along the way. All that’s left for us is to be committed to going wherever He may lead.
May we be willing to truly give our all in whatever God has given us to do. We do not labor for the adoration and acceptance of others. We do not pursue the praise of men. We do not serve hoping to gain much in return, but to truly give of ourselves for God’s honor and glory. So may we be content with knowing we are in the will of God. May we embrace God’s mission for each of our lives. And may we follow Paul’s example of serving selflessly for the benefit of others.