Summary: If we follow the way of Christ’s generosity, and forgiveness with utter loyalty, there will always be folks who will bluntly call us “crazy.”But, “Christ’s love compels us.”
“What on Earth made You do That?”
“What on earth made you do that?”
The newspaper reporter was incredulous.
A young woman had just won a three-week trip around the world.
It was the chance of a lifetime!
And she had given it up in order to stay with a friend as she went to the hospital to face an operation.
“I mean,” the reporter continued, “surely she would have understood?
There must have been other people who could have been with her.”
The young woman remained silent.
Eventually, seeing that she wasn’t going to get away with saying nothing, she burst out:
“All right. You really want to know?
You think I’m crazy.
But what none of you know is what she did for me three years ago.
I was on drugs and I couldn’t stop.
It got worse and worse.
My family threw me out.
She was the only person who looked after me.
She sat up all night, again and again, and talked me through it.
She mopped me down when I threw up, she changed my clothes, she took me to the hospital, she talked to the doctors, she made sure I was coming through it.
She helped me with the court case.
She even helped me get a job.
She-she-she loved me!
Now that she’s sick herself, it’s the least thing I can do to stay with her.
That’s far less than she did for me.”
The logic of love far outweighs all other logic!
The logic of love changes everything, and gives people the power to face things and do things they wouldn’t otherwise have done!
But it can also cause others to wonder, “What on earth made you do that?”
“Are you out of your mind?”
And that is what Paul is addressing in our Scripture passage for this morning.
The Christians in Corinth weren’t so sure they wanted Paul as their teacher and leader.
They didn’t regard him as being a very eloquent speaker, and physically…
…he left much to be desired.
And what about his ministry?
He was constantly getting in trouble because of his zeal for the Christian faith!
If we look over at Chapter 6 we will see a list of what Paul has endured for the sake of the Cross.
He has shown great “endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger…”
And these things have not stopped him.
Despite these overwhelming challenges, Paul went on speaking the truth, relying on God’s power, and using God’s weapons such as purity, understanding, patience and kindness, and sincere love…
…rather than the kind of weaponry that come so naturally to the human race.
Paul says that he has lived and shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ “through glory and dishonor, bad report...”
He has been “genuine,” and yet has been “regarded as an [imposter]; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet [living on]; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything…”
No wonder some had been saying Paul was “out of his mind”!!!
One day, General William Booth of the Salvation Army was quoted as saying, “if I thought that I could win one more soul for Christ by standing on my hands and beating a tambourine with my feet, I would learn to do it.”
If we follow the way of Christ’s generosity, and forgiveness with utter loyalty, there will always be worldly thinking folks who will bluntly call us “crazy.”
But, “Christ’s love compels us.”
As Christians, we are, as Paul puts it, “in Christ,” and therefore our old selves have died with Christ and a new person has arisen!
And in this newness of life, we no longer judge things as the world judges things.
There was a time when Paul judged Christ by human standards, and was bent on eliminating the Christian faith from the world.
But not now.
Now his standards are different.
Now the Man Whose Name he had tried to destroy is to him the most wonderful Person in the world…
…because He has provided Paul with that friendship with God that he had longed for all his life!
And that is what Christianity is all about!
Our relationship with God has gone terribly off the tracks.
People have become self-absorbed, worshipping created things rather than the Creator.
We cheat, murder and steal.
There is little love, and not much concern for our fellow human beings.
And the result—people are miserable.
There is a great big void which nothing, absolutely nothing can fill…
A relationship with God through Jesus Christ!
And that is what has happened to Paul…and this is what happens for anyone who accepts God’s free offer of salvation through grace.