“We are foolish on account of Christ, but you all are reasonable in Christ; we are weak but you all are strong; you are distinguished, but we are dishonored. Up until now, even the present hour, we are hungering, and are thirsting, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly treated and are unsettled and while, working, we labor with our own hands, when we are reviled we bless, when we are persecuted we endure, when we are slandered we exhort, we became as the refuse of the world, the scum of all, until now (even now).” I Corinthians 4:10-13
Unsettled – astateo – to be without permanent residence, be unsettled, be homeless… of Paul’s way of life (BDAG)
This has been an encouraging word to translate and read. Paul doesn’t say that he had no house to sleep in. Or that he was constantly moving from town to town, never staying more than a week. Rather, he stayed in Corinth for some time (a year or more), and Ephesus for 3 years. Some places he left quickly, but where he could he did stay. To say that he had no home might have been offensive to the people who gave him housing when he came to town. Rather, Paul is unsettled. He is nomadic, having no ‘home’ in the most significant sense of the word. Paul didn’t seek a hard life, he received it willingly as part of his ministry, “on account of Christ”.
We have a home of our own. But it is difficult to name where ‘home’ is. ‘Home’ has changed several times. And it will likely change again once we finish seminary. This hasn’t been horrible, just…tiresome. Its good to know we have company with Paul (and everyone else who is, or has been, in seminary, or done missionary work). We are very grateful that most of the other items on the list are not true of us. God is gentle to his more fragile servants. But it is good to be reminded that our God has been using people in this way for a long, long time.