When we arrived at Jerusalem, the brothers received us warmly. The next day Paul and the rest of us went to see James, and all the elders were present. Paul greeted them and reported in detail what God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. When they heard this, they praised God.
Thoughts for Today:At our church on a regular basis we invite the missionaries we support to come and share with the body all that has been done through their ministry. It is a time of great praise and glory for the Lord -- most of the time. On rare occasion I hear a little too much "I" and not enough "God." Paul on the other hand (like the vast majority of our missionaries) had the right emphasis; Paul "reported in detail what God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry." It wasn't what Paul did, but what God had done; a subtle yet important distinction.
Paul traveled widely; spoke on numerous occasions to small and large groups alike; worked to support himself; introduced hundreds, perhaps thousands to Jesus; taught regularly; and he was even physically attacked, beaten, and run out of town as a result. Paul "reported in detail," so I'm sure he related the vast majority of those experiences. However, I don't think Paul placed a lot of emphasis on himself in his report. How do I know? Because of the way the hearers responded: "When they heard this, they praised God." When God is praised after you speak -- then you know you got the emphasis right. All glory and praise to God.
Questions to Ponder:What was your last great victory? Your son or daughters winning goal in their last soccer game? The raise you got at work? How well groomed your yard looked after you spent all day Saturdaypruning and cleaning? Everything we do is our ministry. Ephesians 1:11, "In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will." Ephesians 5:20, "Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." Sometimes I think we all need a little checkup in the area of our own emphasis. What does always and everything mean to you? Do you have the right emphasis? Where are you taking to much credit for what is happening in your life? How could you change the emphasis -- giving the credit to God?