“I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.” 1 Corinthians 9:23

I recently finished watching a rather lengthy documentary on the life and career of Tom Brady. If you don’t know who he is, let me just say he’s one of the greatest quarterbacks ever to play in the National Football League. He is preparing to return for his 23rd season at the age of 44 and he has competed in 10 Super Bowls, having won 7. One other thing — he was the 199th player picked in the 2000 NFL Draft. All of this is certainly impressive, and the reason I mention him is because of one piece of footage from a Super Bowl he won. As the clock winds down and the final whistle blows, among the first things he does is head for the sidelines to share the blessing of winning with his family. And among the first people he kisses is his mom who is struggling with an illness. To be sure, it’s a heartwarming scene to watch him with his parents, and wife and three kids as they soak in the moments of victory. Tom did what he did for the sake of the Super Bowl, that he might share with his family in its blessings.

This week’s passage points to a different game, if you will, and to a different motivation, and to a different kind of blessing. As Paul talks about his perspective and priorities, and exhorts us to adopt them for ourselves, one thing that stands out is the unspoken charge to follow him in making sacrifices for the sake of the gospel, and to do so with an eye to the fact that we will share in those blessings personally and corporately; that is, in our own hearts as well as in shared joy and connection with the others who have had their lives changed by it.

I know Emmanuel Faith to be a church filled with people who make regular sacrifices for the gospel. We give and go; we serve and strategize and sacrifice; we pray for and form friendships with those far from God. But if you’re like me, sometimes you lose sight of the reasons for the “Why?” of it all. And if you’re like me, when that losing of sight happens, your joy diminishes and your commitment lags. And so what do we do when that happens? We do what this passage calls us to do — we remind ourselves that a reason we do what we do is so we might share with others in the blessings of the gospel. We remember the joy we have in our relationship with God through Christ, we remember the joy of seeing others come to faith and we remember the joy that comes from fellowship. We remember that while the “what” of getting the gospel out is of vital importance, so too is enjoying the “who” who are changed by it.

This week my encouragement to us all is to spend some extra time in fellowship and connection with those whose lives have been changed by the gospel, and to then let that time both encourage us and help us deepen our commitment to doing all things for its sake.

Scott Smith
Care Pastor

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