Scripture Reading: I Thessalonians 2:5-12
“For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed — God is witness. Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children.” (I Thessalonians 2:5-7)
The Apostle Paul was a church planter, a pastor, and a missionary. He set the model for pastoral ministry. Notice what he says about his approach to ministry in this passage.
Paul ministered with great humility. He did not use flattering words. He was not trying to impress people with his intellect or with his ability to speak well. He was humble, vulnerable and transparent. He did not try to impress people with his preaching and teaching skills. He spoke truth in love.
His motive for ministry was the glory of God. He was not in ministry for personal gain. He sought no accolades for himself, nor did he seek monetary rewards. He did not seek praise from people, but wanted God to receive all the glory. Paul’s ministry was one of gentleness and love — “But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children.”
Paul’s ministry was also one of self-sacrifice — “We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you have become so dear to us” (v. 8). Paul’s love for the people to whom he ministered was so great that he was willing to give his life for them.
Paul’s ministry involved hard work — “Surely you remember, brothers, our toil and hardships; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you” (v. 9).
Paul set the model for pastoral ministry. His ministry was marked with humility, gentleness, love, sacrifice and hard work. Most of all his ministry was devoted first and foremost to the glory of God.
All of us have a ministry to fulfill. We minister to the members of our family. We minister to those at work and in the classroom. God calls every believer to be a minister, not just those who are in professional ministry. Paul gave us the example and the model. With God’s help we can all be faithful ministers of the gospel.
Lord Jesus, I want to be faithful in my ministry. I want You to receive all the glory. Grant me grace to be humble. Give me love for the people to whom You call me to minister. May I serve You well as I seek to proclaim the gospel to others and to fulfill the ministry You have given me.
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