“Alexander the metalworker did me a great deal of harm. The Lord will repay him for what he has done.”
Has there been anyone in the Kingdom who has served more or sacrificed greater or been used more powerfully than Paul? Probably, but his life and ministry are a sure inspiration. He gave it all to Jesus. Being called by Christ Himself to serve as an Apostle (Acts 9), it’s curious that a metalworker could do him harm. Doesn’t a calling from God pave the way for an unobstructed life? If Jesus called you to serve, and you were faithful, wouldn’t opposition and pain be absent? You might think… but that wasn’t the case for Paul. He had several oppose him and cause him grief. Here at the end of his life, listen to how he speaks about it…
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” (vs. 7-8)
For Paul it’s been a fight; a challenge! It’s not been easy. But he has persevered through. He’s finished what could have possibly ended in despair and failure.
And so Paul teaches Timothy (and me) to “Preach the Word. Be prepared at all times. Correct, rebuke and encourage.” This is what we do. There is struggle and difficulty and as ministers for Christ, we engage it fully. We take it on head on. We fully surrender to Christ, trusting Him when we can’t see the way, and we preach the Word, depositing it into the lives of others.
When I am injured by others, I am not alone… I wasn’t the first and won’t be the last. In this epic battle between good and evil, it’s the nature of the work. There will be Alexander the metalworkers in my life who cause me pain. Expect it. It has happened before and it will happen again. I choose to embrace Paul’s position and leave them to the Lord for repayment. I don’t even pretend to know what that would rightfully look like, so I leave them to Jesus.
Lord, You are the King of Heaven and King of my heart. I follow You as I endeavor to serve You, making Your Name great. Help me to have thick skin… to expect the sins of others to impact my life. Help me to give to You the pain and problems of life and to trust You with the details. Free me up so You can receive great glory through me and through Your church – I pray.