Gladly spent

Flower and Pebble by Amelie Vuillon

“I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls.” -2 Corinthians 12:15

I LOVE this verse. It first stood out to me last summer as I was studying 2 Corinthians for the first time using the ESV version of the Bible, and somehow the way that this verse is worded in this version stood out to me much more poignantly than it had before.

Paul is speaking to the church at Corinth about the selfless nature of his love for them, combating accusations that he was coming to them out of any sort of self-seeking motivation.

As I envision Paul pouring out his heart to these people, telling them how he desires to look after them as a parent after their child (vs. 14), and then telling them how he desires to pour out his life for the sake of their souls, this verse communicates exactly the motive that I desire to be true of my own life. I want to gladly spend and be spent for souls, for eternally valuable things.

This verse has been at the forefront of my mind for months. It is a vivid way for me to examine the way that I have spent my time and energy each day. Like you well know, it is nearly impossible to be a mom and to be a mom living in a foreign culture, to reach the end of the day and not be totally spent. There is nothing at all wrong with that, and it is something that I am sure all of us have come to expect. We are supposed to be hard at work, which of course will mean that we are tired at the end of the day, we will have spent the resources that we had been given for that particular day. The question that I have been asking myself is whether or not I have spent myself on godly pursuits or worldly ones.

I can gladly spend and be spent for my own pleasure, my own goals, other people’s expectations of me that are not God’s expectations, etc. On the other hand I can also spend and be spent on my children and ministry, etc, but if I don’t do it gladly than this is not what I am striving for either.

The concept is of course similar to what we see in the parable of the talents, and also the concept of  “storing up treasures in Heaven,” but for some reason taking the very noticeable physical reminder that I have of being totally spent at the end of each day, and evaluating that physical feeling in light of what 2 Corinthians 12:15 says, feels to me a more vivid gauge given my current stage of life.

I desire to spend and be spent for the souls of my children, to love them and lead them towards God. I desire to spend and be spent for the soul of my husband, to bless him and be a comfort to him as he faces the  daily battle of ministry. I want to spend and be spent for the souls of those that we minister to, whether it be to invest in them to lead them toward Jesus for the first time, or to invest in them to encourage them in their faith, or to invest in them by providing a warm meal and place of rest and fellowship. I want to steward the energy and resources that God allots to me each day for the sake of things of value.

As God has used this verse so dramatically in my life in the past year, I wanted to share it with you who I know are striving for the same thing in your own life.

(art used with permission from


1 Response to “Gladly spent”

  1. 1 Gina Marie March 6, 2009 at 11:46 pm

    I just started using the ESV and I love the way this verse is translated in it! It’s a good word for me this morning because I struggle with that, especially when my husband is traveling (as he is today) and I don’t want to keep pouring myself out for my kids.

    I’m reminded as I think of the desire to be spent for others that God will fill me up for the task – Colossians 1:29, “For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.” I hope you’re feeling His power today! 🙂

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