Today has been less interesting. And I am ok with that! It is a gorgeous, warm, summery day smack dab in the middle of October, though! Such a tease, because I know it's going to just get colder from here on out. We are enjoying it while it lasts, with some extra time out in the yard playing this morning before lunch. Gotta make the most of these kind of days!
My thoughts on this passage are brief. But I love this section. I love Paul's willingness to just be laid out as a sacrifice as long as the Gospel goes forth. He actually seems to write with excitement as he proclaims,
"I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ." (vs. 12-13)
We've been studying the book of Acts in our mom's group Bible study, and have been reminded of all that Paul went through. It would be easy for him to say, "It stinks that so many horrible things have happened to me, and I am tired of being falsely accused and imprisoned for no reason at all. I give up!" (OK, I'll admit, this is probably what I would have said.) But, because Paul sought to glorify God with his life, he didn't look at it selfishly. Instead, he saw the big picture. He saw that the truth of the gospel was being brought forth and that was something to celebrate.
He even goes on to talk about some others who were preaching the gospel, but with the wrong motives. They were driven by "envy and rivalry" (v. 15) and not by love. Paul could have taken offense by this. He could have been humiliated and hurt and angered by their selfishness. But instead, he was just full of joy that the gospel was being preached.
I think this is important to keep in mind. We should not focus on who is teaching it or what their motives are. As long as the true Gospel is being taught, that should be all we need to concern ourselves with. Maybe someone has a method of evangelism that you do not agree with, or vice versa. For me personally, I am not a big fan of street preaching. I have no problem with others doing it, and I know that people do hear the message and come to faith in Christ. But, do I see myself standing there with a megaphone and a handful of tracts? Not really...nope. I'm just too shy and nervous for that! I get so embarrassed and stumble over my words and...it would just be disastrous. But do I see myself teaching the Bible to a room full of children? Or sitting down to study with a friend? YES. Absolutely. Our methods may be different, but the message is the same. And that is truly all that matters. There is no greater cause for rejoicing than seeing His truth proclaimed to all who hear!