Many commend themselves because of their great self-perceived ministry. They compare themselves with others. Paul says those who do this are without understanding.
Does boasting have a place in ministry? Paul was hesitant to do this but he said his boast was in the people he ministered to over time – in what the Lord did through them.
He says it this way, “But he who boasts is to boast in the Lord. For it is not he who commends himself that is approved but he whom the Lord commends.” (2 Cor. 10:17-18)
I have a friend in the Philippines, Roli, who closes his letters with the phrase, “Living for the approval of the One with nail-pierced hands.” He understands that Jesus is the One to whom we must give an account.
Let us live for the approval of the One to whom every knee will bow.
It is so easy to compare ourselves against others. In many cases we come out on top when we do.
Paul said this, “For we are not bold to class or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves; but when they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are with out understanding.” (2 Cor. 10:12)
The context is that there were many who claimed to be apostles and mocked Paul at his unimpressive looks and contemptible speech. They thought they were better because they measured themselves by human standards.
Right self-evaluation is not done by measuring ourselves with others but by Jesus. Jesus is the One to whom each knee with bow and who is the standard. When compared to Jesus, humility is the result.
Ask for grace to become more like Jesus and put aside comparing ourselves with ourselves or with others.
Great fruit from ministry was what the Twelve saw. Jesus had sent them out, two by two, and gave them authority and instructions as to what they should do (Mark 6:7-12). They returned to Jesus and reported all they they had done and taught. There were so many people coming and going that they didn’t even have time to eat.
So Jesus said, “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while”. They got in a boat and went to a secluded place. (Mark 6:30-32)
Sometimes one just has to rest. Great results and overwhelming needs are all around but there is nothing left in the tank. Jesus Himself, needed the rest. The Twelve needed the rest. So they went away.
In our day of seclusion, many of us are overwhelmed with ZOOM calls, texts, emails, phone calls and screens. Sometimes we just need to rest. Unplugging things that bring in all those needs is a viable solution to being worn out and strung out.
Take a moment to reflect on these questions:
What does Jesus’ example mean to me?
Do I need rest? From what?
How can I apply Jesus’ example in my life?
The Lord is our Good Shepherd. Take a moment to read and reflect on Psalm 23.
Matthew 23 is a sobering assessment of the religious leaders of Jesus’ day. Jesus did not waste words or try to minimize the judgement these leaders would face because of their hypocrisy. Eight times He said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites”. (See Matt. 23:13-33)
If you or I were on the receiving end of His judgement, how would we feel? No doubt they felt what we would but even more so, because Jesus condemned their duplicity in front of the crowds. There was no place for them to hide.
In this seventh decade of my life, I check myself regularly, am I a hypocrite? When I see something in Scripture or speak about some topic or see an issue in a fellow believer, I ask, ‘Do I do this? Did what I say or do match what Jesus would want’? Jesus hates hypocrisy.
Take a minute to ask the Lord to search your heart and reveal anything He wants you to confess and change.
We really need others to help us walk in a manner worthy of our calling in Jesus.