Have you ever thought that a “wide door” may have opened for you, but the threat of human obstacles caused you to withdraw rather than fight the good fight for a good cause? It is easy to let jealous, negative, self-serving, mean, angry and evil-minded people slow us down, intimidate us and stop us from completing good works.
For St. Paul, it was not how many would try to stop him, but how many he would have to leap over or run down to get to his destination, his ideal. He said in part: “…for a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.” (1 Corinthians 16:1-24).
This is why having an ideal is so important. If we don’t have a concept of where we are going in life, then life has no meaning other than whatever the stimuli of the day are. This amounts to a pagan-like existence.
One becomes a modern day heathen. Instead of carpe diem or “seize the day,” my slogan becomes “let the day seize me.” St. Paul’s message was constant. He closed his first letter to the Corinthians saying, “Let anyone be accursed who has no love for the Lord. Our Lord come!”
Our spiritual life is either black or white. There is no room for gray with God. How can we believe in God just a little bit, only when it’s convenient? Paul says in verse 13, “Keep alert, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.”
Some say that religion is a crutch for the weak. Paul would say that faith in God through Christ Jesus is for the strong. Man’s power is fleeting and unreliable. God’s power and love is constant and dependable. The strong resist the threat of the worldly and seek the relationship that is everlasting. As Paul says, “And there are many adversaries.”
So we must prepare ourselves. We must discipline ourselves in God’s word, love Him and love others enough to want to share our loving Lord with them. Paul thought the good news, the gospel, was worth risking his life for as he shared with all people in his path.
Paul knew that the wide door, when opened, would reveal many adversaries, but he couldn’t ignore the many more faces with the look of hunger, a hunger for something better than the worldly life. Paul’s ideal was to bring his brothers and sisters to Christ. That should be ours as well. Seize the day!
Robert Halsey Pine was born at Newark, Ohio in 1943. He is a graduate of Northeastern University and completed the program of Theological Education by Extention: Education for Ministry, School of Theology, the University of the South.