It's true that some here preach Christ because with me out of the way, they think they'll step right into the spotlight. But the others do it with the best heart in the world.
One group is motivated by pure love, knowing that I am here defending the Message, wanting to help.
The others, now that I'm out of the picture, are merely greedy, hoping to get something out of it for themselves. Their motives are bad. They see me as their competition, and so the worse it goes for me, the better - they think - for them.
So how am I to respond? I've decided that I really don't care about their motives, whether mixed, bad, or indifferent. Every time one of them opens his mouth, Christ is proclaimed, so I just cheer them on!
because I know how it's going to turn out. Through your faithful prayers and the generous response of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, everything he wants to do in and through me will be done.
I can hardly wait to continue on my course. I don't expect to be embarrassed in the least. On the contrary, everything happening to me in this jail only serves to make Christ more accurately known, regardless of whether I live or die. They didn't shut me up; they gave me a pulpit!
Alive, I'm Christ's messenger; dead, I'm his bounty. Life versus even more life! I can't lose.
As long as I'm alive in this body, there is good work for me to do. If I had to choose right now, I hardly know which I'd choose.
Hard choice! The desire to break camp here and be with Christ is powerful. Some days I can think of nothing better
. But most days, because of what you are going through, I am sure that it's better for me to stick it out here.
So I plan to be around awhile, companion to you as your growth and joy in this life of trusting God continues.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)