In the book of Galatians, the Apostle Paul takes time to validate his apostleship. You see, unlike the other apostles who walked with Jesus during his earthly ministry, Paul only encountered the risen savior on the road to Damascus. As a result, the people in Galatia were more impressed with the other apostles than they were with Paul. So Paul details his transition into ministry and his association with the other apostles, and his calling received from God alone.
In Galatians 1:10 Paul reveals 3 critical questions the modern pastor must answer concerning their ministry.
“For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10 NKJV
Is your goal to PERSUADE men or God?
Early in my ministry I struggled with this because my preaching style wasn’t like other ministers in my denomination. I felt like I didn’t fit in and I really wanted to fit in. But like Paul, I realized they (the other ministers) didn’t call me. It was God who called me into the ministry and God who speaks his word and will to me. So my goal is to persuade God that I’m faithful to his call more than any desire to persuade men that my ministry is valid.
Just like Paul, we must know where our loyalty lies. It’s imperative that our ministry focus is to persuade God alone. We should wholeheartedly desire His acceptance and approval because He’s the one we answer to.
Are you still trying to convince men of your call, position, and title?
Is your goal to PLEASE men or God?
People are fickle. If you’re trying to please them, you’re fighting a losing battle. In ministry, seeking to please people will lead to watered down preaching that lacks conviction. People may be pleased when messages are entertaining and make them feel good. But God is pleased when a person’s life is changed into righteous living and they actually do good.
God’s word is described as a sword which is confrontational. As long as you’re preaching to please God, there will be confrontational messages that challenge people to deny themselves and turn away from sin.
Is your goal to SERVE men or God?
In bible times, poor people could sell themselves into slavery and become bondservants. These individuals would willingly become indebted to their masters to improve their own livelihood. In ministry, God is our master. We are working to benefit His kingdom. When ministers choose to serve exclusively for the benefit of the people. They find themselves hoping to receive such rewards as accolades, notoriety, popularity, contributions and the like. They become slaves to meeting the desires of people, rather than God.
Galatians 2:6 supports this point.
“But from those who seemed to be something—whatever they were, it makes no difference to me; God shows personal favoritism to no man—for those who seemed to be something added nothing to me.” Galatians 2:6 NKJV
Paul was clear that “important people” were not as important as God. He says their titles and positions made no difference to him because they added nothing to him. As bondservants of Christ, only the Lord can truly add to us, prosper us, increase us, and enlarge our ministries.