If I preach the gospel, this is no reason for me to boast,
for an obligation has been imposed on me,
and woe to me if I do not preach it!
If I do so willingly, I have a recompense,
but if unwillingly, then I have been entrusted with a stewardship. (1 Cor 9:16-17)
Death and taxes.
That is the old joke, is it not? What are the two things that are required of all of us? Death and taxes.
Well, guess again.
Paul reminds us of an obligation that every believer has been given: the obligation to preach the gospel. Jesus told His disciples, “Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.”
Note that Jesus did not say, “Hey, guys, if you’ve got nothing better to do, would you consider going out to proclaim the Good News.” No. He did not ask them to consider. He said, “Go!”
Paul knew that. He had a deep conviction in the responsibility that had been given to him. And he did everything that he could do to fulfill the obligation to preach the gospel.
Would that we were as convicted.
We have been given a wonderful gift by our God. He formed us in His own image and blessed us wondrously. He made us His children in the Sacrament of Baptism and gave us the rich gift of faith.
The gifts that God has given to us point us to Him. They tug at our hearts and direct our minds towards “home” where we will live forever with the Lord.
Sadly, while God’s gifts tug our hearts to think of Him, the world calls to us in a much louder voice and there are times — often too many times — where we allow the noise of the world to drown out the whispering voice of God.
We will hear God much better if we do His will. That was what St. Paul knew. That was why he willingly did all that he could do to embrace the will of God. We, too, have been entrusted to preach the gospel. How can we best do that today?
FAITH ACTION: In prayer this day, identify the gifts that God has given to you and ask Him to help you to utilize those gifts so that you may proclaim the greatness of God by word and deed.