Nice guys finish last.
One of the tragedies of being a ‘nice guy’ (or gal) is when people treat you like dirt. People can be mean and cruel. I’ve had my share of antagonists who want to push their way to accomplish their selfish goals. It makes you feel like quitting.
Charles Spurgeon (19th century pastor) was right when he said that discouragement was one of the ministry’s greatest risks. A person can get to the place where their heart isn’t in their service for the Lord.
The Apostle Paul had plenty of reasons for discouragement. But he did not quit. In 2 Corinthians 2 he repeated the phrase “We faint not” (verses 1, 16). What was it that kept Paul from ‘fainting’ in the conflicts of life?
Paul knew what he possessed in Jesus Christ! Instead of complaining about what he did not have, Paul rejoiced in what he did have. That made the difference. You and I can do the same thing.
This Sunday, February 24, I continue a 3-part sermon series called “The Message and the Messenger” from 2 Corinthians 3-5. 2 Corinthians is Paul’s most personal letter and he opens his heart to defend his ministry and the Gospel against his attackers. This week my sermon is simply called “Humble Service” from 2 Corinthians 4.
In chapter 4, Paul defended the integrity of his ministry with a point-by-point response to his critics. He gives us a dynamic of two principles of how the ministry of the Gospel ought to be done. It should have the right philosophy and the right focus. The philosophy is ministry is to proclaim the simple TRUTH of the Gospel and the focus should be JESUS. It is so common for clergy and churches to water-down the gospel to get a crowd and please people. Yet, we must trust the simple, straight-forward power of the Gospel to change lives. It is enough.
Too many people are focused on themselves rather than Jesus. But without Jesus, we aren’t much. In fact, Paul says we are like common, clay pottery that contains a valuable treasure. It’s the treasure that matters, not the container. The Christian holds the most valuable treasure in the world – Jesus.
No matter what we face in this life, we can be confident of ultimate victory through Jesus. We may feel like we are losing, but it’s not over. God will be glorified in our life. Even the hard times are working together for good (Romans 8:28). There is more to this life than this life. So, we should spend more concentration on eternal issues than temporary ones. As we humbly serve God and one another, we will experience peace in this life and reward in Heaven.
This Sunday we will be encouraged by the counsel of the Apostle Paul. He is already at his final destination (Heaven). We can take a lesson from his life and “not lose heart” in our service for Jesus.
Join us this Sunday @ 10:30 a.m.