Just how pitiable is my life? It seems an odd question I know, but bear with me on this! This passage of scripture from 1 Corinthians 15:17-19 came up a few mornings ago during our family devotion. It’s a passage I’ve read many times but as we read it again this time I felt God challenging me to look at it from a different perspective. I had to ask myself - how pitiable is my life?
“And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins. In that case, all who have died believing in Christ are lost! And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world.” 1 Corinthians 15:17-19
Having a pitiable life doesn’t seem like something to aspire to on the face of it, but what if we ask the question in the context of this passage of scripture?
Paul was saying to the Corinthians - if there is no Christ, no resurrection of the dead, no salvation - in essence if this life of 70 or 80 years is all we really have, and there is nothing beyond - then our whole lives are meaningless and we should be the laughing stock of the whole world!
Why would that be the case? Well if your whole life, decisions, values and purpose are built on something that’s a lie - that’s a pretty pitiable place to be. And yet that should be exactly where we aspire to be as Christians - we should yearn to have the most pitiable lives of all by the world's standards!
Why? Because if we take Christ out of the equation of our lives, if we extract the Saviour, the resurrection, the certainty of salvation and the hope of being with him in the future - if after that our lives still look exactly the same as before, if our lives still make sense - then we have missed it completely!
For my part, I want my life to be so completely enveloped in the person of Jesus and in the gospel that if you remove him from the equation, all that’s left is rags.
Let me tell you it is so worth it! Remember the Beatitudes - Jesus said the most pitied in this life are the most blessed because their riches are not in this life - they await a greater reward in heaven. (Matthew 5:3-12)
And what is more, he takes our current pity and turns it to glory. He gives us beauty in exchange for ashes! (Isaiah 61:3)
So I challenge you to make your present life as pitiable as possible, for the progress of the gospel and the glory of God’s great name. That is my determination. Will you join me? I promise you, what looks like pity to the world is so beautiful in God’s eyes.