Monday, January 16, 2012

The Stewardship of Suffering

For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name. ~Acts 9:16

What sort of stewardship will you have when suffering comes?
When hear the word “stewardship”, what do you think of? Most often you would think of money, time, or resources. How often though, does the thought of pain or suffering come to mind when considering the concept of biblical stewardship? The Apostle Paul was blessed with a stewardship of pain and suffering from the Lord Jesus, Himself. Yes, I said blessed...

Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name.  ~Acts 5:41

Peter and some of the other Apostles were taken before the Sanhedrin Council to answer the charge of teaching and preaching Jesus at the temple. After examining the Apostles and taking council, they decided to beat them and charge them to stop speaking in the name of Jesus. After departing from the council, havening been beaten and publically shamed, how did the Apostles respond? Did they weep, lament and cry out to God in bitterness? No, they rejoiced; they were good stewards of the suffering.

Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy.  ~1 Corinthians 4:2

There are a number of things God places into our care, all of which should be used for His purposes, His glory. There are even times God entrusts to our stewardship, pain and suffering. Regardless of the substance of our stewardship, the chief goal is to be found faithful in how that stewardship is carried out. Pain and suffering are circumstances that provide a unique opportunity to glorify God. Consider how the name of Jesus Christ is magnified when it is our faith in Him that enables us to endure disease, tragedy, or persecution.

For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.  ~2 Corinthians 12:10

As with anything else placed into our care, pain and suffering can be spent foolishly or selfishly. It is all too easy to wallow in self pity or doubt when confronted with personal suffering or persecution. I know, because there have been times when I squandered opportunities to glorify my Savior during times of suffering within my own family. Beloved, let us not forsake the blessed stewardship of suffering when it is granted by our Lord, but endeavor to glorify Him and faithfully discharge that duty with rejoicing.

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.  ~1 Peter 4:12,13

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