Stand and Deliver
Lord, I long to rest in You and hope in You. Teach me today what it means to live in You.
Read 1 Corinthians 7:17-24
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
It is easy to want to climb the social ladder or desire to be someone we are not. That is the way of the world, and our new life in Christ can reveal to us God’s destiny for us.
“They also serve who only stand and wait” (John Milton, 1608-1674) is the final line in Milton’s poem written in response to his blindness. It is a defiant counter-statement to the idea that he is marooned or made unproductive by his disability. He works from where he is rather than where he would like to be. That echoes Paul’s concern. It can be harder to stand and wait when you would rather be up and off, taking initiatives and moving on to something new, particularly when you have become a new person in Christ and genuinely want to serve him. In Corinth, one group who faced this issue starkly was spouses whose partners were not yet believers. Wouldn’t it be easier to leave in order to serve Christ more effectively? To converted slaves and new Christians embarrassed by their Jewish background, Paul says: “The default is, remain where (or as) you are.”
Similar challenges face us: Should new converts move to a better area? Should we move to a livelier church? Should I become a missionary, a pastor? The motives behind such questions are varied. Some are thinking, “If only I were in that place doing that ministry I would be so much more fruitful.” Others cannot get their head around the notion that God calls people to be firefighters, gardeners, bankers, bus drivers and journalists. For others, the idea of something new is always appealing.
Paul’s maxim is “remain” (20), and it is founded on the right of God to call us because he has bought us (23). We are not free agents, so our happiness is not the determining factor in our ministry. Neither is our evaluation of fruitfulness (because spiritual fruitfulness for a slave might have been particularly difficult to ascertain). Persevere until God moves you on.
What do you find frustrating about your present role and responsibilities? Bring these to God, asking that he might enable you to witness him at work around you today.
Mighty God, You have placed on me a call, and given me a place to love and serve You. May I rest in You for the present and trust in You for the future.
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