I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.
1 Corinthians 9:23
In the classic adventure film, “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” there’s a scene where Indiana Jones is feeling all his aches and pains from his countless escapades. At that moment, he groans, “It’s not the years. It’s the mileage.”
The apostle Paul could have said something similar. If you had met him near the end of his life, what would you have seen? Perhaps a limp from some broken bone that never healed properly. Or scars on his skin from the beatings he endured. Or callouses on his hands from his work of tentmaking to make ends meet. And if you looked carefully, perhaps you would notice Paul sighing some heavy sighs and wiping away a tear as the desperate needs of souls weighed on his mind.
Was it all worth it, Paul? Was it worth the years? Worth the hardships? Worth the hostility? Worth the heartaches? Worth the mileage, callouses, and scars?
Throughout the New Testament, the Holy Spirit empowered Paul to answer such a question many times. In 1 Corinthians chapter 9, Paul simply said this: “I do all this for the sake of the gospel.”
Through all the mileage and wear-and-tear, Paul never forgot what the gospel has done for him. He never forgot that, even though he, Paul, had been living a life in dark opposition to God’s truth, nevertheless God the Son came for him in the person of Jesus Christ. In place of Paul’s life of sinful arrogance, Jesus lived a life of perfect, humble service. Then he carried every last one of Paul’s sinful failures to the cross, washing them all away.
Through faith in his living Savior, Paul never forgot this. He lived to share the gospel with others. That’s how valuable the good news about Jesus is. Whenever and wherever you can learn more about it so that, like Paul, you can share in its blessings.
Lord Jesus, grant me opportunities to learn more about what you have done for me and continue to do for me. Amen.