March 26, 2018 • Life for Leaders
For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
Today is Monday of Holy Week, a week set apart to focus on the last hours and death of Jesus. I would like to take a short break from our slow walk through Ephesians this week in order to reflect on the meaning of the cross of Christ for our lives.
I will do so by reflecting with you on 2 Corinthians 5:14-6:2. This short passage in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians comes in the context of Paul’s defense against accusations from Corinth. Apparently, some visitors to this Greek city accused Paul of being out of his mind, and some of the Christians in Corinth agreed (2 Corinthians 5:13). Paul answers this accusation by saying that if he has lost his mind, “it is for God.” And if he is in his right mind, it is for the sake of the Corinthians (5:13). Then Paul launches into a short defense of his ministry, in the midst of which are several insights which help us connect the cross of Christ to our own lives, including our daily work.
Whether in his right mind or not, Paul says that “Christ’s love compels us” (5:14). This love is demonstrated in the fact that Christ “died for all” (5:14). Because Christ’s death counted for all, Paul could add that “all died” in Christ’s death (5:14). Thus, when we ponder the death of Christ on the cross, in a sense we are pondering our own death, the death owing to sin that Christ took on in our place. Because Christ died for you, in his death, you died as well.
The death of Christ shows us God’s immeasurable love for us. As it says in Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
This love saves us, heals us, transforms us, claims us, and embraces us. But, according to Paul, it also has the capacity to “compel” us. The Greek verb translated here as “compel” can also mean “hold together, urge on, or control.” Paul is saying that the love of Christ is not just something he receives with gratitude or admires with awe. It is also something that grabs hold of him and moves him forward. It presses him on. It urges him to act in a certain way. For Paul, the love that Christ has for him and for all people is the fundamental motivation of his entire life and work.
You and I may not be apostles, but we can also be compelled by Christ’s love for us and for others. We can learn to be motivated by his love, not only when we’re in church, feeding the homeless, or on a mission trip, but also when we’re in the office, sitting in a conference, or on a business trip. The more we are enveloped by the love of Christ, the more we’ll live each moment as an expression of his love.
Something to Think About:
How do you respond to the idea of yourself dying on the cross in Christ?
When are you aware of the love of Christ compelling you?
Are there times when Christ’s love motivates and guides your behavior at work?
Something to Do:
Before you begin work today (or tomorrow), take a few moments to reflect on the love of Christ for all people. Consider Christ’s love for you. Consider Christ’s love for your colleagues, your customers, your vendors, your competitors. Let the love of Christ urge you on today in your work.
Gracious God, thank you for the amazing, all-inclusive, transforming love of Christ. Thank you, dear Lord, for dying for all, including me. Thank you for demonstrating your love in this way, so that I might see it and know it and be changed by it.
O Lord, may your love indeed compel me this day. May I remember your love and live out your love in all that I do. Help me, in particular, to love those with whom I work today. And may I do my work in response to your love and as a gesture of love for you. Amen.
Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online commentary:
Introduction to 2 Corinthians
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.