We have words we don’t use in our house.
Yes, those words that just ran through your brain and are highly inappropriate. BUT we also have other words that are rarely used.
Words like NEVER, ALWAYS, EVERYTHING, ANYTHING.
Here are some ways they have been used in the past:
- “Mom, you NEVER let me do that!”
- “My sister ALWAYS treats me that way.”
- “I can’t do EVERYTHING.” (This usually refers to chores. This one also has two strikes – ‘can’t’ and ‘everything.’)
- “I didn’t get ANYTHING” (Think grocery shopping and your sibling got a pack of gum – that they ‘might’ be required to share.)
At our house, we have learned (are learning) there are very few absolutes in our world. As much as we like to make our point sometimes, these statements are rarely truth.
In reading through Scripture, though, we find some absolutes, times when these very words are used. Here it is highly appropriate.
In 2 Corinthians 4:11, Paul says, “For we who live are ALWAYS being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that Jesus’s life may be displayed in our mortal flesh.” If you look at another verse that has this same idea in it, Paul writes again in 2 Timothy 1:12 that he is suffering. This suffering is not necessarily persecution, but possibly just age, mortality.
Referring back to 2 Corinthians, Paul says we’re ALWAYS given over to death – our mortality, aging is just another part of bringing glory to God. Who knew, right? The fact that Paul uses the word ALWAYS makes me stop.
My kids remind me when I hit fifty (not for a few years, mind you) that I will be a HALF CENTURY old!! As much as I appreciate the reminder, I am not always thrilled with the idea of limiting what I choose to do or am able to do because of my age.
Aging is not terribly exciting to me.
When Paul talks about aging being an opportunity to glorify God, well, that changes our perspective a bit, yes? He’s right, we are ALWAYS aging, but if we look at it as an opportunity to bring glory to God, might it be worth it?
Think of the wisdom we gain, the stories we can tell of his faithfulness. These are things – when we were younger – we didn’t have or couldn’t have done to the extent we can today.
The years, regardless of how many we have, are an opportunity to grow God’s story in us and then share that story with others.
Not long after this verse, Paul uses one of those words again. In 2 Corinthians 4:15, he says, “Indeed, EVERYTHING is for your benefit so that, as grace extends through more and more people, it may cause thanksgiving to increase to the glory of God.”
The process of aging and growing actually leads to our benefit, but ultimately to God’s glory. Isn’t that what we all want? EVERYTHING – for our benefit and HIS glory.
As you tackle that new workout today or look in the mirror thinking you don’t look quite the same as you did in that High School picture, have no fear. God has done a work in you and continues to do so. Aging is such an opportunity for us to see more clearly the story God is writing in us, but also the privilege of telling that story to others.
Paul has one more thought I’d like to share – verse 16. He says, “Therefore, we DO NOT GIVE UP. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day.”
Thank you, Jesus.
We really don’t use absolutes at our house much, because we like the truth. God, on the other hand, can very well use absolutes – because he IS truth. ALWAYS and EVERYTHING – for Jesus.