A group of Indians were walking by Mother Teresa when they saw her hugging a leper. One of the men commented, “I wouldn’t do that for all the money in the world.” Mother Teresa replied, “Neither would I. I am doing it for the love of Christ.” Not because it made her feel good. Not because it made her rich and famous. Not because it paved the way for the Nobel Peace Prize. Completing the task the Lord had given her was the “only aim.” Nothing in life trumped her love for Christ. She never forgot who she was living for.
Neither did Paul. In his farewell to the Ephesian elders he warned them that difficult days lay ahead. Even some among the flock would distort the truth and draw others away (Acts 20:30). Despite the inevitable discouragement such betrayal would bring, he exhorted them to keep pressing on. He reminded them of Jesus’ words— that a life of giving and investing in others exceeds a life marred with self-interest. Paul spent all he earned to not only take care of his own needs, but also to help the weak (verse 35). The church was to remember his example…an example that would encourage them not to forget who they were living for.
How about us?
Have we slid from doing things for the love of Christ toward some lesser motivation? Have we exalted the good over the best? Has our initial passion of living for Jesus faded? Have we followed the culture, as Ross Douthat writes in his book, Bad Religion, into a “do-it-yourself” “consumer-oriented spirituality?” Have we allowed the tentacles of self-centeredness to creep back into our hearts and drag us away from our first love?
Evidence abounds in Christendom of how we forget who we’re living for. Let’s not join the crowd. Let’s purpose to live for Jesus in whatever we face…
- When we’re discouraged….let’s live for Him in our surrender.
- When we’re offended….let’s live for Him in our forgiveness.
- When we’re confused…let’s live for Him in our trust.
- When we’re happy…let’s live for Him in our dance.
My friend, let’s not forget who we’re living for.