Brothers and sisters:
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.
What then is my recompense?
That, when I preach,
I offer the gospel free of charge
so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.
Although I am free in regard to all,
I have made myself a slave to all
so as to win over as many as possible.
To the weak I became weak, to win over the weak.
I have become all things to all, to save at least some.
All this I do for the sake of the gospel,
so that I too may have a share in it.
~ 1 Corinthians 9:16-19, 22-23
I love the second reading of the Fifth Sunday in OT (Yr B). It's a passage of Scripture I hold, very dear to my heart. Especially the verse that says, "For an obligation has been imposed on me!"
Looking back, I remember how in the beginning this seemed as though a heavy burden was laid upon my shoulders, the weight of which made movement impossible. I was a Jonah-scripture-look-a-like (I know I've mentioned that before!) I tried very hard to eliminate that burden, not knowing it was a godly one. As time went by I realised that God often places a weight upon us to accomplish something important in our life. When we run away from God’s will for our life, we’re headed ninety miles an hour down a dead end street. We need to obey and submit to whatever God is calling us to do. God lays burdens upon our heart to guide us. Therefore, it’s very important to note that, not all burdens are bad—many of them direct us to God’s purpose for creating us.
Paul was imposed with preaching the Gospel, it was a godly-burden. To be a Christian is to be a missionary!
The definition of: mis·sion·ar·y
Noun: A person sent on a religious mission, esp. one sent to promote Christianity in a foreign country.
Adjective: Of, relating to, or characteristic of a missionary or a religious mission: "missionary work".
According to the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20), each one of us is sent to preach the Good News. We are all pilgrims in this life–no matter our citizenship (1 Peter 2:11). Our destination is the Promised Land (Psalm 84:5). Every follower of Jesus is a citizen of heaven, not earth. We are aliens in a foreign land, forsaking all for the love of Christ. In short wherever we are, we are all missionaries of the Gospel of Christ!
Therefore we ought to preach the Gospel at all times through the lives we live, the work we do and the words we speak. For who knows, 'our life may be the only Bible some people will ever read.'