What happens when I…?
People often judge what will happen when other people do things, but often enough we don’t judge what happens when we take certain actions of our own. I know this from personal experience.
There was a time I was dating a guy from another church and so I would always go to their church. It was so very exciting participating in their activities and being apart of their group.
The college kids my age there grew up with the same attitude as I did when it came to church. Basically, if you are a member there you dedicate 100%.
If there are two services for church you go to both (different songs and message.) You shouldn’t to choose to go to one just to have the luxury to go home. We are supposed to be eachother’s rocks and fellowship together.
Sometimes I would decide to go to their church, not my own. And I never questioned how my absence effected other people.
So now I have been thinking, “What happens if I don’t get to see my friend who is at home all week alone with the kids while her husband works, and she has had a terrible week?” It might not make a difference for me, but for my friend, there could be a huge relief to see me, to get a hug, have a laugh, and plan a small outing next week.
If I don’t see that friend, I may lose the opportunity to see her all week, or even for two weeks, because you never know when one of the kids could get sick or hurt. Then I lose a chance to pray WITH her, or just pray FOR her during the week.
This is on my mind today, because my wonderful cousins who are under 18 make a bigger effort than myself (and others) to get up on Sunday morning, not only to have a morning breakfast at 7:30 a.m. but to also go meet up with a church gal to fellowship over coffee at 8:30 a.m.
Most young adults are still sleeping at this time on a Sunday morning, and these young ladies are up and enjoying life!
With all this on my heart and mind, I decided to study on something similar in the Bible. What I found was Philippians 1 where Paul writes to the Christians in Philippine with his concerns and love for them.
“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear. It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me. Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by God. For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him, since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.”
Philippians 1:3-30 NIV
It’s very interesting to read about the history and the background behind the verse rather than just reading the verse. Paul had been arrested for his ministry and although he continued to pray for the Christians in Philipi to continue to grow in love and grow in love for Christ.
This verse resonates with me so much. There have been so many times when others haven’t asked themselves “what happens if I…?” And they take credit for things others have done, ideas others have had, the hard work behind the scenes… But here’s the thing, when we continue to pray for those people while they are enjoying our limelight in this world, and they are rewarded for things they haven’t done (or done by themselves), they have received their earthly rewards and they won’t reap any rewards for that in the kingdom of heaven.
If you don’t know, or maybe you have forgotten, especially in this world of social media and instant gratification, God rewards us for our actions we take when no one is looking and know one knows, (like when we pray to just pray, not pray to be seen.) When you take action out of the goodness of your heart and no one is watching, those are the moments God watches for.
And I don’t know about you but I pray for all my friends whether they are at church when I am or not, whether they are sick or not, jailed or not, happy or depressed, rich or poor… That’s what Paul would have done, I’m sure that’s the example he would want to see. And I hope that’s what other Christians are doing also.
Paul was a disciple of God. Although he was not perfect, like we are not, we are provided with real world examples of how to live fearlessly with Christ as your center.
So what happens when I ask myself, “What will happen if I stay Christ-centered and question whether I am making Godly choices before I make choices? How will I effect others in the life mission that is living a life for Christ?”