Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel
“For when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, since I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!”—1 Corinthians 9:16
Do you remember what it was like when all seemed lost, you were in great despair, and your life was meaningless, empty, and devoid of understanding? Do you remember how unhappy and desperate you were? But the Lord didn’t just ignore you or forget you or turn His back on you then. He reached out and took you in His arms in your time of need. And to do this, He probably used somebody to witness to you, who was overflowing with thanksgiving and joy for the wonderful love of the Lord in his or her heart.
The Lord beseeches us to do the same for others, for those who are lost and lonely in the cold and darkness—to be His feet, His eyes, His voice, His message. If we don’t bring His message to people, they may lose the opportunity to experience the joy, the freedom, the compassion, the understanding, the wisdom, and the great love that He has in store for them in this life.
What would it be like to have little or no purpose in life, hope for the future, no way to get rid of your burdens of remorse, regret, or condemnation, no way to deal with the death of loved ones, no way of knowing where they had gone or if you would ever see them again, no way of dealing with tragedy or loss? If someone helped us to know Jesus and His salvation, how can we fail to do the same for others wherever possible? If Jesus loved us so much that He died for us, He also loved them so much that He died for them. Someone (probably many someones) made it possible for us to know Jesus, and it’s our responsibility to pass the message on.
The Word says that Jesus came to “seek and to save that which was lost.” Jesus said, “As My Father has sent Me, so send I you.” His Father sent Him to earth to die that we might live. As Christians, we are called to die for others that they may live. But our dying is usually a “dying daily”—living here in this life and remaining on earth, giving of ourselves every day to share His love and so that others might find eternal life in Jesus.
Paul said, “Follow me, as I follow Christ.” If we look at both Jesus’ life as well as Paul’s life, they weren’t very easy lives. Jesus never promised His followers a life of ease, but He did say that this life is but for a moment, and if we suffer for Him, we’ll also reign with Him. If we’ll yield to what He wants for our life and fulfill His calling as faithfully as we can, one day we will experience the glorious rewards that He has offered to those who overcome. He even says that He will give us things right here that will make our lives fulfilled and joyous, that He will give us His peace, strength, and joy right here and now if we praise Him and thank Him and carry out our assignment cheerfully!
The Lord wants us to have great concern for others, realizing that many people live in turmoil and confusion and lack of love, and thanks to His Word, we have the answers they’re looking for. The Lord promises great returns if we’ll give unto others. What a marvelous cycle!
As we give to others, the Lord promises to give to us His power, strength, faith, and joy. As a result, many will look upon us and they’ll know we’ve been with Jesus, and they’ll want Him too. And so the cycle will go on and on.
For what is your life? It is but a vapor that appears for a short time and then is gone. And though the young may look on the old and say, “You are old and I am young,” you all are old, in that your time may come. And for everything there is a season: a time to live and a time to die, a time to witness and a time to rejoice in the souls that have been led to Jesus.
This is the commitment, and this is the calling of every disciple to share the message of Jesus’s everlasting kingdom with those who are in need, who will perish by the way, who have yet to know Him and will fail to know Him unless someone shares with them the message of God.
Jesus gave His life for you, for great was His love for you! Great was His compassion for you! He reached out to you in your time of need, when all seemed lost and there was great despair, and life was meaningless and empty and void of understanding. Jesus came to you and embraced you, often through the life of another who reached out with His love and the salvation that welled up with great joy in his or her heart.
Continue to reach out for the lost and the lonely who dwell in the darkness and in the cold. Don’t think that the message of salvation will come to them at a later time or place. It may come, but they may lose the joy, the freedom, the compassion, the understanding, the wisdom and the great love that He has in store for them now. Therefore stir yourselves up and don’t be complacent!
Continue to share the gospel wherever and whenever possible. Give, and it will be given unto you. The more you reach out to others, the more will be given back to you. And your faith will grow and your joy will flow, and many will look at you and know that you have been with Jesus and will desire the same.
Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel