So then death worketh in us, but life in you. 2 Corinthians 4:12
I thought I was being pranked. We were hours from any main road on dirt logging roads somewhere in the Coastal Mountains of Washington. The guy who had trained our team took me out on the mountain slope and taught me how to use a hoe-dad (I had never heard of one either). It was a tree planting tool used to cut away the ferns and slash to get to the dirt. It was cold and wet and I couldn’t imagine this guy was serious; unfortunately he was. I was going to spend the next seven months planting trees, unthinkable.
Where am I going with this? We are headed to the cross, learning how to make sacrifices in uncomfortable circumstances for the sake of the gospel. Did you get that last part? The money I was making was going to support our ministry teams going to Central America. I was learning how to die but I was really learning a better way to live. Here is how Watchman Nee describes it.
‘How precious is the cross of Christ! It lies within the scope of every single member to raise the tide of life in the whole Body, provided only he will let the cross deal drastically with the life of nature in him. You ask me how you can be used to minister life to others. Not by setting out to do a lot of things, nor yet by going into retirement and doing nothing at all, but simply by letting the power of His death and resurrection operate in the course of your walk with God. Those who serve only by words or works find their ministry brought to a standstill if at any time circumstances reduce them to inactivity or silence. To be used they must be doing or speaking. But this should not and need not be so. Only let “the dying of Jesus” work in you, and life will surely manifest itself in others. It must be so, for it is an abiding principle of the Body that “death worketh in us but life in you.”
This was Paul’s toughest lesson but it is the reason we still talk about him 2000 years later. The power of the Spirit was released in Paul’s life as the cross had its effect. I was not being pranked after all (at least not by by trainer), maybe I was being pranked by the Lord.