Today’s devotional is a reprint of Kate Moon’s blog originally posted on May 1, 2014.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
“Who Am I?”
“Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ for the faith of God’s elect and the knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness . . . and at his appointed season he brought his word to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our Savior,”
Today, when we communicate with one another, there are a myriad of ways we can choose to identify ourselves. On Facebook, email or instant messaging programs, we have the profile picture or a status line where we have the option to sum up our life’s philosophy in 50 characters or less. Our choices can tell others a lot about our personalities, what we value in life. Is the photo a family shot? Comical? A scene of outdoor adventure? Taken with a loved one?
In the not-so-distant past, we knew who a letter was from by the return address on the envelope. Or we could tell who a call was from, not by caller ID but because we were familiar with the voices of our close friends and family and could recognize their “Hello.”
Every time Paul began one of his letters, he had to identify himself, as was standard procedure at that time. And he would often begin in the same way: “Paul, a servant… an apostle… to preach the gospel…” Out of all the people in the Bible, he is one of the ones with the strongest sense of self, purpose and calling. He identified himself as a servant, one who lived to obey his master’s commands. He saw himself as an apostle, someone sent out for a purpose, on a mission. And he knew clearly what that mission was: to take the gospel beyond the Jewish world and preach it to people of all nations – something that no one had ever really thought seriously about doing before.
In some ways, all believers are like Paul in having a calling upon our lives that is 1) related to the gospel, and 2) uniquely ours. Some of us are still on the path of discovering what this may be; others may have had it at one point but lost sight of it somewhere along the way. This morning, we admire and are encouraged by Paul’s strong sense of identity and calling. Seeing that it was possible for him, we can ask the Lord for the same.
Prayer: Lord, I want to have a stronger sense of who I am as a Christian, how I am called to live this life. Would you help me to be more like Paul, knowing how my life fits in to your greater gospel plan? Help me to see throughout this day what I can do that is related to this higher purpose. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: 1 Corinthians 9
Lunch Break Study
Read Titus 1:1-3: “Paul, a servant of God . . . by the command of God our Savior.”
Exodus 21:2, 5-6: “If you buy a Hebrew servant, he is to serve you for six years. But in the seventh year, he shall go free, without paying anything . . . But if the servant declares, ‘I love my master and my wife and children and do not want to go free,’ then his master must take him before the judges. He shall take him to the door or the doorpost and pierce his ear with an awl. Then he will be his servant for life.”
Questions to Consider
- Paul’s sense of calling was closely linked to his identifying himself as a servant of God. What do you think it means to be a servant? What idea of servanthood do you think Paul had?
- Why did the servant choose to stay a servant rather than go free when he had the choice?
- What kind of commitment is it to be another person’s servant for life? Do you think you could make such a commitment? What would it take?
- To be a servant is to be someone who carries out another person’s commands. Paul saw his calling as a command from God to be obeyed. Seeing ourselves as servants, our sense of calling can become more clear. Have we gotten to that place or are we still wanting to call the shots in our lives?
- Because he loved his master. He must have received good treatment and found it better to be under the master’s orders than to make his own choices. His master had won his heart
- For life . . . that is a long time. If our idea of being a servant is just always having to give up what we want to do and being forced to do things we don’t want to do, it would be difficult, no – impossible. It could only be possible if we keep experiencing the love and goodness of the Master.
What did I do today that was related to God’s gospel purpose? Did I try to have the attitude of a servant of God today, living the day trying to obey him rather than going my own way? As I did, did he reveal or confirm anything today about what he may be calling me to do with my life?