2 Corinthians 11
23bI have worked harder,
been put in prison more often,
been whipped times without number,
and faced death again and again.
24 Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes.
25 Three times I was beaten with rods.
Once I was stoned.
Three times I was shipwrecked.
Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea.
26 I have traveled on many long journeys.
I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers.
I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles.
I have faced danger in the cities,
in the deserts,
and on the seas.
And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not.
27 I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights.
I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food.
I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm.
28 Then, besides all this, I have the daily burden of my concern for all the churches.
29 Who is weak without my feeling that weakness?
Who is led astray, and I do not burn with anger?
30 If I must boast, I would rather boast about the things that show how weak I am.
31 God, the Father of our Lord Jesus, who is worthy of eternal praise, knows I am not lying.
32 When I was in Damascus, the governor under King Aretas kept guards at the city gates to catch me.
33 I had to be lowered in a basket through a window in the city wall to escape from him.
This passage ALWAYS makes me chuckle.
How many of us would continue to be & do who we are if we suffered just ONE of the things that happened to Paul during his life in service to God?
In a day when we heard many people gripe & complain about how persecuted we are, it's interesting to juxtapose that with the actual life events Paul endured as a follower of Jesus, actively seeking opportunity to share His good news.
It seems we scream & cuss when our precious & prissy lives are something less that a Club Med / American Dream / successful existence.
A life of service that God calls us to be & do one thing – serve.
Sometimes that makes our lives a little less than a summer at a Sandals resort.
But many have a very strong but erroneous concept that being a servant of the Lord is supposed to be something of an all-inclusive holiday.
I don't think so.
Let's all look at our lives and ask ourselves if we would claim allegiance to Jesus if our life was spent in much of the same vein as Paul mentions his life to be like.
Does our life have to suffer true persecution like Paul's to be able to claim to be true & real.
But neither does it have to exemplify the American Dream & move from one glittering level to another.
Just think about it today....