What do you have that you did not receive it?

I Corinthians 4:7-8, 11-137“For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it? 8 You are already full! You are already rich! You have reigned as kings without us—and indeed I could wish you did reign, that we also might reign with you!”

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11 “To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless. 12 And we labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure; 13 being defamed, we entreat. We have been made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things until now.”

This feeling of being ‘full’, ‘rich’ and ‘satisfied’ is not alien to many of us, the so-called believers. Sometimes we lose interest to move ahead in life and ‘recline’ on chairs as if everything we desired has been achieved. The matters that relate to God may not entertain us anymore and we feel it as unnecessary. Our attitude to God might be something like, “I have achieved what I require in life and now why should I care?

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We might express our opinions on similar lines as follows:

  • Sundays: We don’t feel like going for a church service, since it takes some extra effort to wake up on a Sunday morning depriving us of a ‘good’ sleep on a weekend!
  • Church activities:Now, when it comes to taking part in church activities, we don’t have enough time for such things!
  • Mission & Evangelism: And when it comes to this, we behave as if ‘this is not my cup of tea!’ We might refer it to as Pastor’s job! We might also defend that we are already in a different profession and are very busy with it and we don’t have time for a new ‘job’.

This exactly is the feeling of being ‘filled’ already that we want nothing new! The Corinthians were probably passing through a similar phase of ‘satisfaction’. At this moment, Paul is asking a pricking question at them, ’What do you have that you did not receive it?’

This is a big question at each of us!
Do we have anything in this life that we didn’t receive from God? We owe every single blessing and even the air we breathe and the water we drink to the God almighty. We have nothing in this world to boast about ourselves and to feel satisfied. Our big house, our expensive smart phones, our beautiful spouse and children- whatsoever it might be, every single thing we are proud to hold close to us is actually a blessing of God.

If God for one moment thought of repealing our blessings we would be ‘nothing’. If God didn’t cover us in His mercy, we would just be a naked person, exposing all our weakness and our survival itself would be at stake. Even at this stage where we are ‘blessed and adopted’ by Christ, we have only one thing to boast, and that is in Christ Jesus! And we owe everything to Him!
So, plainly speaking we have no right to move away from spreading the same love of Christ to others. And we must remember that ‘Mission’ and winning souls are not pastoral activities but it is the call of every believer.

Paul also present another side of the picture where the apostles are fools for God’s sake (4:10), enduring pain, hunger and thirst. When we recline and rest in our house there are homeless people who have suffered to share the love of Jesus with us! There are people who have toiled hard and remained hungry so that we would know ‘Jesus’.

What more do you need? Jesus himself could not sleep at his home or remain ‘full’ in his ministerial period. Jesus was literally hungry when he looked into the fig tree for a fruit (Mat 21:18). Jesus was beaten, torn, crucified and shared His love on the cross till the last drop of His blood…

The ‘blessing’ we enjoy comes at a price! Indeed a very BIG PRICE!
We need to remember this in our moments of ‘rest’ and ‘fullness’.
Let us give in commit ourselves to His grace and work genuinely with our heart for His kingdom.

God bless you…

(Feba Varghese)

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