“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.” (John 14:18-19)
Scripture Reading – Acts 18:1-17
If we are convinced that Jesus is with us and that we will live after we die, then we will boldly strive to make His Name known. As we grow in Christ, the temptations of this world will lose their power, and we will do greater works because we know that our future is in the Lord’s hands. People who do great things for God are those who don’t put their own considerations first. We reject the temptations of this world because we know that God is worthy to be worshipped by all people. We die to ourselves by denying our ambitions and prioritizing the things of God.
Paul is an example of someone who denied himself. He had one of the most interesting conversions in Scripture, and was used by God in amazing ways. Paul didn’t focus on his future, because he knew that Jesus was with him and that he would live again. On one of his ministry journeys, Paul left Timothy in Macedonia and went on alone to Athens to proclaim the gospel. After he finished his ministry in Athens, Paul departed for Corinth. Why did Paul continue his journey to Corinth rather than wait for Timothy to join him in Athens? The distance from Athens to Corinth was approximately only 60 kilometers. More importantly, Athens faced the east, being located on the Aegean Sea, and Corinth faced west, being located on the Ionian Sea. Many ships would unload their cargo in the harbor near Athens and bring the goods overland to Corinth, where they would be loaded on ships headed to Rome. This route saved shippers much time and money.
When Paul was called to be an apostle, the Lord commissioned him to testify before Caesar in Rome. While he was proclaiming the gospel in other regions, Paul’s eyes were constantly focused on Rome. He never forgot that he was to go to Rome to proclaim the gospel and defend all Christians before Caesar. Corinth was not too far from Rome. Perhaps Paul thought, if he could get to Corinth, then he could find a ship sailing to Rome. When he arrived in Corinth, Paul worked making tents. On the Sabbath, he went into the synagogue and taught about Christ. This means that all week long Paul worked and only did ministry one day a week. But once Timothy and Silas arrived from Macedonia, Paul stopped making tents. Timothy and Silas worked, while Paul proclaimed the gospel every day.
Paul made tents while in Corinth because he needed the money, because very few people supported his ministry. When Paul arrived in Corinth, he was poor and alone. He walked from place to place, because it cost money to go by boat, but walking was free. Yet, Paul never wrote a letter to Peter saying, “Hey, how come you never send me any money?” Paul knew that the believers from Jewish backgrounds had become refugees after being expelled from Jerusalem. By faith, Paul trusted in Christ and didn’t complain. He knew that he would not be orphaned by God.
Notice the sacrifice of Paul, who was willing to do the greater works that Jesus called him to, instead of seeking worldly things. Paul’s focus remained only on proclaiming the gospel. He courageously faced trials, because he knew that even if he died he would live again. God defended Paul just as He promised He would. Why are you serving the Lord? Many serve because they are guaranteed certain benefits or are seeking fame, but that shouldn’t be the motivation for our service. Remember, the Helper will be with you wherever He calls you to serve Him. What are you will to sacrifice in order to do the greater works?