|A preacher got himself in trouble last week over some comments on social media. His remarks were unwise and drew a lot of attention to him and his ministry. When people started looking at him a little closer, they discovered that his church had an attendance of about fifty people, but he referred to himself as ‘an apostle’ and ‘father to the nations’. There’s nothing wrong with pastoring a small congregation but calling yourself ‘father to the nations’ is a little grandiose.
I have never quite understood people who feel it necessary to go overboard when describing their accomplishments. Confidence and self-awareness are good traits, but humility is often lacking in our world.
The Apostle Paul (a real apostle) had it with self-promoting false teachers and apostles who were influencing the church at Corinth. Their claims to power and greatness were all based on the wrong measurement. Paul refused to play the game of comparison. He knew what God had called him to do. He knew his limits and more than that, he knew when to acknowledge his weaknesses.
In powerful words against false teachers, he writes: “Oh, don’t worry; we wouldn’t dare say that we are as wonderful as these other men who tell you how important they are! But they are only comparing themselves with each other, using themselves as the standard of measurement. How ignorant! We will not boast about things done outside our area of authority. We will boast only about what has happened within the boundaries of the work God has given us, which includes our working with you. (1 Corinthians 10:12-13, NLT)
His opponents were commending themselves on how important they were. Boasting about their impact on the world. Yet, Paul says God doesn’t measure one’s ministry based on what is happening somewhere else. God wants us to be faithful in the spot where he has placed us. Are you serving God and being faithful to him, right where you are today?
Don’t go looking to compare or measure your spiritual growth or service with other people. That is unhelpful. If you are being faithful and serving in the place where God has put you, then he’ll take care of you. There won’t be any need for empty boasting. Just a great sense of success.