A. One of the hardest lessons to learn in life is what is important and what isn't.I. HIS MISSION MATTERED MORE THAN HIS PROBLEMS, vs. 12-14
B. One of the reasons Paul was able to withstand so much was that he knew where to place his priorities.
A. ProblemsII. HIS MESSAGE MATTERED MORE THAN HIS PRIDE, vs. 15-181. Health problemsB. Victory
2. Family problems
3. Economic problems
4. Social problems1. His problems served to advance the gospel.
2. His problems served to inspire others.
A. PrideIII. HIS MASTER MATTERED MORE THAN HIS PERSON, vs. 19-261. National prideB. Victory
2. Religious pride
3. Community pride
4. Personal pride1. The gospel can be preached from dual motives.
2. It can be preached amid misunderstandings.
A. His PersonConclusion: In death or life, all that mattered to Paul was that his master be glorified.1. ThreatenedB. Victory
3. Endangered1. His master gave him meaning for life.
2. His master gave him meaning in death.
Often in life, we give up a present benefit for a
larger future benefit. The student gives up his leisure for the sake
of an education. The lover gives up his freedom for the security
of marriage. The dieter gives up foods he likes for the sake of health
and a longer life. The person in the military gives up civilian life
for the benefit of his military career. The jogger gives up comfort
for health. The saver gives up some purchases for the sake of a larger
one later on. That is what separates man from animals. Cattle
will eat until they die. Paul saw the larger eternal benefits and
gave up the present, smaller benefits.
The glory had gone to Napoleon, but he could never
have accomplished what he did without Marshal Ney, his most brilliant and
his most courageous officer. They called Marshal Ney "the bravest
of the brave." Certainly, Paul deserves such a description.
It was the tranquil scene on the calendar that first
caught the eye. Then the verse, "Today is the tomorrow we worried
about yesterday." We do spend a lot of time worrying about tomorrow.
Most of our worries are useless. We may spend so much time worrying
about tomorrow that we miss the opportunities of the present. Many
of us live by an inversion of the old motto. Ours is "Never do today
what can be put off till tomorrow."
A minister recently wrote in his weekly column in
the church newsletter that he was setting goals for the new year.
One of his goals was to clean up his desk. Another of his goals was
to find last year's goals!
His name is Wersching, and he is the great place
kicker of the San Francisco Forty-Niners. He never looks at the goal
posts. They distract him. He only looks at the hash marks on the
field. With Paul, it was much the opposite. He kept his eye
on the goal. Anything between him and that didn't matter much.
In writing an article on death, a minister noted that he had just taken a course in thanatology, the study of death. Well, life itself is a course in death. Joseph Addision, near death, sent for his stepson. When he arrived, Addison said, "I have sent for you that you may see how a Christian can die." In Gloucester, England, is a tombstone with this oddly splendid epitaph:
The most conservative of Jewish sects and the most interesting is the Hasidic. Found principally in Brooklyn and Jerusalem, they are fiercely opposed to Zionism and fanatically devoted to Jewish ritual and custom. Yet dance is a part of their worship joyous dance; for the founder of Hasidism said, "To be sad is a sin."