I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
As a kid, standing up in the back seat of my parents' 1956 Buick Special, I bounced all over the place. There were no seatbelts, so I flew from side to side, front to back, looking to see where we were. Since I had memorized all the places we went to, I usually could figure out where we were going.
And once I knew our destination, I pummeled my parents with questions. “Are we there yet? Why did the light turn red? Why aren’t we there yet? Why is the sky blue? Did you see that bird? Why did that car pass us? Can’t we go any faster?” Yes, it’s true. If I was a kid today, I’d be heavily medicated.
Now Paul wasn’t exactly like a young Chet, but he was on the lookout for something. He was living with expectation and hope. This meant that his life was lived with his head leaning forward. His neck was outstretched as he strained to see the one thing he was looking for. His attention was focused. His eyes and ears were scanning the horizon, checking for any sign of what he’s on the prow for. So, what was he hoping for?
He wasn’t living to win the mega-lottery. His goal in life wasn’t to be rich and famous. To lead his team to victory in the Super Bowl. He didn’t spend each and every moment of his life building a business. There was both a negative and positive side to his life.
Negative – Not to be ashamed. Of all the things Paul didn’t want in his life, he didn’t want to bring shame into his life. He didn’t want anything he did or said to reflect poorly on Jesus.
Positive – Sufficient courage. He was focused on being able to speak about and for Jesus with his words and actions. It was the single most important thing to Paul that Jesus be made known in a good way through him.
And it didn’t matter to Paul what happened to him. The one and only goal was for everyone to hear about Christ and his once-and-for-all payment of our eternal debt with God. It could come from anywhere and any part of his life. It didn’t matter if he was rich or poor. Full or hungry.
It could come from Paul’s success or failure. It could come from riches or poverty. It could come from good health or a failing body. It could come from strength or weakness. It could come from lots of attention on social media or from being ignored.
Paul’s one thought and focus is for Christ to be seen and lifted up so everyone will notice. Christ to be made big and great. You wouldn’t be able to listen to or watch Paul without seeing Jesus in him. Working in his life. Energizing his words, thoughts, actions, and attitudes.
And how did Paul do that? He did more than put Jesus at the center of his life. Paul put Jesus into the envelope of his life. Jesus was inside Paul with no way of escape. Jesus was inside the core of Paul, connected to every part of his life. There was no way that Paul could turn without Jesus being there. Being in charge. Being in control.
Now, I bet you’re thinking that the idea of living full for Jesus sounds nice. It’s something that might be for you, but not now. It’s for someone else. Someone with more talent. More Bible knowledge. More experience. After all, he’s the Apostle Paul. He’s in the spiritual big leagues. He’s world famous. That was a long time ago. Things are different now.
And in one sense you’re right. He was the Apostle Paul. He was unique. He had a Jewish background. He had special gifts and talents. He did see the risen Christ. He lived long ago, and people back then were more open to Jesus than they are now.
I’m not going to argue with you about whether all these things are true or not. But I will suggest that, in another sense, you’re wrong about Paul being different and more special than you. But not just wrong, dead wrong. Wildly wrong.
Jesus died for you just as much as he did for Paul. He paid for all your sins just like he did for Paul. Jesus rose from the dead for you just like he did for Paul. God the Holy Spirit lives in you just as much as he did in Paul. You have at least one spiritual gift just like Paul. And Jesus is coming back again for you too.
You might think that you’re not worthy to serve Jesus. And you’d be right. But it’s not about you being worthy, it’s all about him loving you to the point of dying for you. Since he did that for you and everyone that would believe, that’s the motivation for us to serve him with all our heart, soul, strength, and might. Isn’t it about us being worthy, it’s all about him being worthy of all our life.
It’s time for us to get up and serve Jesus right where we are. With the people right around us. In the place and circumstances that we find ourselves. God’s looking out and forward for people just like you and me to use to reach and serve people. When are we going to respond?
What energizes you to be on the lookout for something?
How have changes in finances impacted your relationship with Jesus?
Why don’t you feel worthy to be useful in serving Jesus?
 Philippians 4:12