"But just as we have the same spirit of faith that is in accordance with scripture - 'I believed, and so I spoke'—we also believe, and so we speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and will bring us with you into his presence. Yes, everything is for your sake, so that grace, as it extends to more and more people, may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God." 2 Corinthians 4:13-15
On May 26 in Paris, France, a 22-year-old refugee from Mali was on his way to watch a soccer game when he noticed a crowd pointing and yelling. Mamoudou Gassama looked up and saw a young child dangling from a balcony four stories high. What happened next has caused people around the world to refer to him as a "real-life Spiderman."
Mamoudou climbed onto a door, and then jumped up to grasp the railing on a first-story balcony. In approximately 30 seconds and with his bare hands, he propelled himself up to the second, third, and fourth floors, where he was able to pull the child to safety.
A few days later, Mamoudou was invited to the palace to meet with French president Emmanuel Macron. President Macron granted him a medal for his bravery, promised a pathway to French citizenship, and offered him a job with the Paris fire brigade.
In subsequent interviews, Mamoudou has displayed remarkable humility. One reporter asked Mamoudou if he had been afraid. Speaking to the motivation of his heroic climb, he replied, "I did not think of the floors...I did not think of the risk. I did it because it's a child."
Today's passage immediately follows the comment the Apostle Paul makes about his desire that even in affliction, perplexity, and persecution, the life of Jesus would be made visible. What motivated Paul to do what he did? In 2 Corinthians 4:13-15, he expresses two primary things which have brought about this strong desire. The first is that he shares the Psalmist's (Psalm 116) spirit of faith in testifying of God's deliverance from death. Paul was able to see this with even greater clarity because he could bear witness to a resurrection faith – "the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus" (v. 14).
Paul's second motivation was the glory of God. Everything he did was "so that grace, as it extends to more and more people, may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God" (v. 15). "Some interpreters of Paul have argued that he indeed understands the glory of God as something that can be enhanced objectively by human thanksgiving; human gratitude actually increases the glory of God" (Charles Cousar, Texts for Preaching, p. 379). Regardless of whether this captures Paul's thinking, it does make us mindful of our ultimate purpose as followers of Christ – to glorify God!
Prayer: Lord, help us to live our lives with our eyes wide open to every opportunity of extending your grace to others so that more and more people will give you glory and praise!
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