Illustrating the Consequences of Serving God
by Charles R. Swindoll
It is an inescapable fact. If you get serious about being shaped into Christ's image, you'll have to learn to cope with the consequences of being a servant of God. Those who serve will suffer. Read these verses slowly:
Are they servants of Christ?—I speak as if insane—I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure upon me of concern for all the churches. (2 Corinthians 11:23–28)
What stories Paul could tell! You remember the four words from 2 Corinthians 4 we've studied? Today's verses—from the same letter of Paul—amplifies each. The comparison looks like this:
|Chapter 4||Chapter 11|
|Affliction||"in far more labors"|
|Confusion||"in far more imprisonments"|
|Persecution||"beaten times without number"|
|Rejection||"often in danger of death"|
You see? Paul not only told us what a servant could expect, he verified it with his own experience. What a model Paul was!
Adapted from Improving Your Serve: The Art of Unselfish Living, Copyright © 1981 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. (Thomas Nelson Publishers). All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.
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