...with great humility and with tears...
Thoughts for Today:Too often we see a great television evangelist preach on the virtues of humility while dressed impeccably in his four thousand dollar custom tailored suit, just before climbing into his chauffeured driven limousine -- all paid for by the contributions of his listeners. There is nothing wrong with nice things and the benefits of success, but we need to be careful that our appearance and actions don't create a conflict with our words or the message of Jesus Christ.
Recently, and as a result of the financial crisis of 2007-08 and beyond, billionaire investor Warren Buffett (of Berkshire Hathaway) made an offer to re-insure eight hundred billion in municipal bonds. Mr. Buffett made his intentions perfectly clear on CNBC when he said, "When I go to Saint Peter I will not present this as some [charitable] act that entitles me to get in. We're doing this to make money." Although some might ascribe altruistic motivation or result, Mr. Buffett was quite clear that his move was not intended to help out the troubled bond insurance industry -- it had one simple goal -- to opportunistically make money. There was no conflict between his words and his action. Although some of you may not like his straightforward approach, it is the truth -- no baloney mixed in -- and I for one respect that.
In our passage today, Paul is reminding the elders in Ephesus that he has no hidden agenda in speaking to them -- whether now or in the past; nor has he ever had a financial, or any other ulterior motive. In fact, he supported himself throughout his time in among them as a tent maker. His only purpose has been to serve "the Lord with great humility and with tears." Humility because he came to them with nothing more than Jesus Christ; and tears because the Holy Spirit touched his pastor's heart with their city's great need. Paul's actions and his words thereby meet perfectly in his humble service to the Lord. Straightforward, no baloney, and the truth -- that is so refreshing and respect-worthy.
Questions to Ponder:Are you having trouble getting involved in ministry? Perhaps you've become more concerned with what you won't want to do rather than what needs to be done. Christian service is not about our position, responsibilities or the respect of peers, it's about humbly serving God's people -- one at a time -- usually without any fanfare or recognition. Do you seek an earthly reward or a heavenly reward? How does your approach to ministry need to change?