- “Woe is me . . . I failed the test!”
- “Woe is me . . . I didn’t make the team!”
- “Woe is me . . . I didn’t get asked to the prom!”
- “Woe is me . . . I didn’t get accepted to the college I wanted!”
- “Woe is me . . . I don’t like my job!”
- “Woe is me . . . I lost my job!”
- “Woe is me . . . I have too much month left at the end of the money!”
- “Woe is me . . . I’m showing signs of aging!”
- “Woe is me . . . !”
You finish the last one. We have become experts at holding “pity-parties” and living under the shadow of the tree of “woe” when life doesn’t go according to our plan.
But this is not for you! The apostle Paul showed us a way to keep from wasting the witness of our woes. He wrote:
Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel. (1 Corinthians 9:16)
There is a “woe” that is not wasted! All of the woes mentioned in the bullet points above are focused on self and circumstances, but Paul’s woe was focused on Christ and our calling as Christians. The apostle had devoted his life to preaching the gospel and was ready to cast an oracle of woe upon himself if he did not do what God had called and equipped him to do. Now, that is a “woe” that was not wasted!
I want to caution those of you who may be thinking something like, “Well, that’s fine for Paul, but I am not called to preach the Gospel like he was.” To be sure, most of us will never travel to other countries, risking great peril on land and sea to preach the Word, as the great apostle Paul did. But every one of us is called to be a conduit of the Gospel, regardless of our station in life. From the boardroom to the locker room to the classroom to the family room, every Christian has been called to preach the Gospel, with our lips and our lives. And woe to us when we do not!
So . . . how are you doing at making the message of your Master the story of your life? We are to be so taken by the truths of the Gospel that these truths take over our lives. At this level of living, we won’t waste our “woes” on anything smaller than Jesus!
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!