When the Corinthian church questioned Paul’s authority, he gives them a glimpse into the life of an apostle. It’s not exactly a glowing endorsement.
He was whipped, beaten, and stoned. He was on frequent journeys, shipwrecked three times, and encountered constant danger everywhere he turned. And at the end of this long list of life-threatening situations, he adds that he was “in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night…” (2 Corinthians 11:27).
Toil seems to be a recurring theme in Paul’s letters. He toils in order to spread the gospel and to train believers in godliness (Colossians 1:29, 1 Timothy 4:10). He toils in order to not burden others and to set an example of industry (1 Thessalonians 2:9, 2 Thessalonians 3:8).
Are You Serving the Right God?
Ultimately, he toils for the service of his god.
Now serving your god sounds nice, but it’s really not a big deal. (Hear me out on this one.) We all serve our gods. Whether it’s money, our sense of self-worth, or our desire for sensual pleasure – serving our gods is easy.
Here’s the key: It’s tough to remember which god we really should be serving.
Paul did not make comfort his god. He did not make ease and convenience his idol. He knew – and remembered in the tough times – that Jesus Christ, and Christ alone, was his god.
Don’t Deceive Yourself
The Bible speaks about the need for rest and rejuvenation – there’s no question about that. God doesn’t want us to be workaholics.
But I’ve caught myself many times using that as an excuse. I justify my complacency or my laziness as a desire for godly rest. I’m really good at deceiving myself. And the amazing thing is that I can convince myself that I’m obeying God when I’m really serving the idol of my own comfort and pleasure.
Does your usage of your time reflect a false idol of comfort? Of convenience? Or do you struggle and toil and work out of obedience to the one true God?
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