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The dreadful, glorious ministry of the apostle.

There are 17 reasons the ministry of the apostle is dreadful according to 1 Cor. 4:8-13.

  1. Inequitable rewards - those who "come later and work less" get rewarded more - v.8a

  2. Not that apostles are jealous of this inequity - just the opposite! They only want more for you..."that you might reign" so that they can share in your spoils and glory! - v. 8b

  3. Apostles go to the back of the line. The opposite of privilege and access and due acknowledgement (v. 9a)

  4. Apostles are "sentenced to death"; how's that for living the privileged life? (v. 9b)

  5. Apostles are looked upon with scorn, pity and disregard, and the "spectacle" is comprehensive - not just for the world to see (open for public viewing), but to the angels (even they look) and to men (the praises that we love); it's all quite humiliating. (v. 9c)

  6. Apostles become fools, but those served are wise. (v. 10a)

  7. Apostles are weak, but those served are filled with strength. (v. 10b)

  8. Apostles are held in contempt, but those served are honored. (v. 10c)

  9. Apostles are not well fed, but rather experience hunger and thirst. Apsotles literally feel hungry and thirsty. That's getting down there to Maslow's hierarchy of needs. This is the opposite of being feted and living a life of feasting. (v. 11a)

  10. Apostles are poorly dressed. They don't look good. They can't dress to impress. They do not exude sartorial power. (v. 11b)

  11. Apostles are exposed to the elements ("buffeted"). For the sake of the gospel, apostles will put their body in harms way, and sacrifice their bodies to push ahead. This is entering heroic territory. (v. 11c)

  12. Apostles are homeless! (v. 11d) They don't own their own homes. Don't own real estate. Don't have the comforts of shelter. No permanent roof over their heads. Are apostles crazy?

  13. Apostles support themselves, "working with our own hands" (v. 12a). This is "next level" graciousness. Apostles are certainly due offerings and monetary support, but some even work to support themselves.

  14. Apostles are reviled, but don't revile in return; rather they bless. (v. 12b)

  15. Apostles are persecuted, but instead of retaliating, they endure. (v. 12c)

  16. Apostles are slandered, but instead of blasting those who fling maddening accusations, they appeal to them kindly. (v. 13a)

  17. Apostles are considered the lowest of the low, like trash ("scum of the earth, and the refuse of all things"). (v. 13b)

Is this not dreadful? Who would want to be an apostle? No one. Yet incomprehensibly, it's glorious in service of the gospel. There is nothing, including our body, reputation, or essential needs that can't be sacrificed for God. It's all worth it.

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