Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 9:15-23
If I proclaim the gospel, this gives me no ground for boasting, for an obligation is laid on me, and woe betide me if I do not proclaim the gospel! For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward; but if not of my own will, I am entrusted with a commission. What then is my reward? Just this: that in my proclamation I may make the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my rights in the gospel. –1 Corinthians 9:16-18
Paul’s chosen profession, perhaps inherited from the family business, was tent making. He was apparently successful at it, able to support himself, and made friends through the enterprise. It afforded him the opportunity to pursue his avocation of proclaiming the gospel.
An avocation is a work done primarily for the pure joy of doing it. We sometimes interchange the meaning of the word joy with happiness. Joy may or may not evoke happiness, but it is the emotion one feels when one attains his or her greatest desire. In our scripture above Paul is describing his greatest desire as taking the good news of Jesus Christ to all people. His quest caused him many hardships and eventually resulted in his death, but for him, every disciple won was the source of great joy. The driving force behind his avocation was no doubt the tremendous joy he experienced in encountering Jesus Christ and the continuing relationship that resulted.
What source of joy has Christ written on your heart? In your service to God, what brings you the greatest sense of accomplishment? Identifying your faith heart’s desire and seeking ways to actualize it will bring you joy that will last for eternity.
Prayer: Open my being to know where the desires of my heart and your desires intersect, O Lord. Enable me to pursue those points with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength. Amen.