We all do things for different motives. Often we are trying to help, sharing knowledge or experience, or passing on advice; it is possible that sometimes we are guilty of manipulation or even gentle coercion, maybe (dare I say it) even nagging, trying to bring someone else round to our point of view.
Perhaps sometimes it seems that the end justifies the means, but is that necessarily the case? Is there a better way? A right way?
1 Thessalonians 2:1-8 (CEV)
Paul’s Work in Thessalonica
2 My friends, you know that our time with you wasn’t wasted. 2 As you remember, we had been mistreated and insulted at Philippi. But God gave us the courage to tell you the good news about him, even though many people caused us trouble. 3 We didn’t have any hidden motives when we won you over, and we didn’t try to fool or trick anyone. 4 God was pleased to trust us with his message. We didn’t speak to please people, but to please God who knows our motives.
5 You also know that we didn’t try to flatter anyone. God himself knows that what we did wasn’t a cover-up for greed.6 We were not trying to get you or anyone else to praise us.7 But as apostles, we could have demanded help from you. After all, Christ is the one who sent us. We chose to be like children or like a mother nursing her baby. 8 We cared so much for you, and you became so dear to us, that we were willing to give our lives for you when we gave you God’s message.
Paul is keen to impress upon the Thessalonians that he did things the right way and with the right motives. He brought the gospel to them straight. With no gimmicks, no tricks, no outlandish claims. He didn’t dress the message up to be what they wanted to hear, and he wasn’t doing it for his own glory. He just brought what God had asked him to say.
Are we so trustworthy with God’s message? Can I be trusted to bring it straight? Without additions, fuss, wild claims or any compulsion to ‘look at me and what I’m doing’. Do I let God’s message speak for itself without feeling I have to make it something more?
Because God’s word stands – as is. It is powerful and life-changing all by itself. Can God trust me to share it?
I come as I am,
just as I am,
no bold claims,
just wanting to get things right
to do them your way.
may I go with your word,
just as it is,
no pointing at me.
May your word
stand in its power
and change lives