Paul is facing a dilemma, and he must decide between the work and the reward. Paul looks towards death as the time when he will both receive the rewards that have been promised and a deeper relationship with Christ which we all long for, but to remain here on Earth his work supporting the church and the followers of Jesus. Paul’s convictions win out and he decides that it is far more important to continue the work here.
We still face this same dilemma today; do we seek our rewards or follow our convictions in the work we do here? Take for example our society as it lives through the pandemic. We are separated from one another in order to work towards a healthy reunion, we wear masks in public even if they are uncomfortable, even our shopping is affected. A selfish desire to reap the rewards would lead us to ignore all these restrictions so that we would be free to do what we wish, but our convictions to serve others leads us to not only follow these restrictions but to rejoice in them and the good things they promise for others.
I invite you all to join in the conversation as we ponder Paul’s message of self-sacrifice in the service to others. How can we as individuals and as the community of Christ’s followers show our dedication in living out our calling of service to others? Perhaps some ideas of acts we can do to serve our communities will come up. Who would be willing to bake bread for one of our neighbors, or even more, for a stranger we have yet to meet? Even something simple like a phone call to someone who is feeling left out of things is an important service to them.
What rewards do we see in the future? We all seek a time in which we will be in a deeper relationship with God, but there are also more concrete and visible rewards. Someday soon we will be together in our sanctuary, and able to greet one another in person. How can we work towards this goal, and what can we do to make this hopefully soon to come reunion even better?