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“Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt; Put me to doing, put me to suffering”

January 2, 2024
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Daily Scripture

2 Corinthians 4:8-9, 16-18

8 We are experiencing all kinds of trouble, but we aren’t crushed. We are confused, but we aren’t depressed. 9 We are harassed, but we aren’t abandoned. We are knocked down, but we aren’t knocked out.

16 So we aren’t depressed. But even if our bodies are breaking down on the outside, the person that we are on the inside is being renewed every day. 17 Our temporary minor problems are producing an eternal stockpile of glory for us that is beyond all comparison. 18 We don’t focus on the things that can be seen but on the things that can’t be seen. The things that can be seen don’t last, but the things that can’t be seen are eternal.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

“Put me to doing” was not about random “doing.” This phrase asks God to use us in God’s kingdom work, work a broken world often hates. “Who in their right mind would want to be put to suffering? Deeply committed disciples, that’s who. Deeply committed Christians realize that there is something bigger than their own self-interests… at work. Deeply committed disciples know that… the mission of God is more important than their personal well-being, comfort, security, and social status.” *

  • This part of the prayer grew from “Put me to what thou wilt.” We often refer to Jesus anguished prayer before the cross, “My Father, if it’s possible, take this cup of suffering away from me. However—not what I want but what you want” (Matthew 26:39). In effect, that was Jesus’ prayer every day, from welcoming little children (cf. Mark 10:13-14) to spilling money changers’ profits in the Temple (cf. Matthew 21:12-13). How open are you to being daily put to God’s work?
  • “Rank me with whom thou wilt” was a prayer about “reputation.” “To pray ‘rank me with whom thou wilt’ is to place ourselves before God to be used by God for God’s purposes, regardless of the conclusions that people make about us, either explicitly or implicitly impacting our reputation.” ** As you choose whether to get involved in some part of God’s mission to redeem and restore the earth, how vital to your choice is how that may affect what others think of you?
Prayer

Lord Jesus, when people called you a friend of sinners (cf. Luke 7:34), they didn’t mean it as a compliment, yet you embraced it. Give me courage for whatever work you call me to. Amen.

GPS Insights

Lydia Kim

Lydia Kim

Lydia Kim serves as one of the pastors of Connection and Care at Resurrection Leawood. An avid believer that growing in faith pairs well with fellowship and food, she is always ready for recommendations on local restaurants and coffee shops.

I struggled with the idea of suffering for most of my early twenties. After years of unprocessed grief caught up with me, I had a lot of doubts about God’s goodness. I didn’t know what to do with cancer, suicide, addiction, domestic violence, or systemic injustice in light of a good God. It wasn’t until I understood that God doesn’t cause suffering but instead wrings goodness from suffering that I finally made peace with God being good. And I learned to trust in that goodness once more.

Even though I better understand what God does with suffering, praying this part of the Wesley Covenant prayer is still challenging. Who wants to be put to doing and suffering? While I understand doing kingdom work is worth doing, even if it’s difficult, I can’t honestly say the same thing about suffering. Even Jesus asked God to “take the cup of suffering away.” No one wants suffering, but it exists.

That is why 2 Corinthians 4:8-9, 16-18 is such a Godsend. It reminds me that while suffering, we are not alone. The God who created the Universe sent Jesus to be with us and promises that the suffering we experience is temporary. 

I don’t know what you are going through today, but you are not alone. You are not abandoned–God fiercely loves you. And the God who came to us at Christmas sees and believes in you and knows your story. You can trust that God is faithful to walk with you every step of the way, regardless of who you are ranked with, what you are doing, and what you are suffering.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
References

* Folmsbee, Chris, The Wesley Prayer Challenge Participant Book (p. 56). Abingdon Press. Kindle Edition.
** Folmsbee, Chris, The Wesley Prayer Challenge Participant Book (p. 47). Abingdon Press. Kindle Edition.