Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Why do I do it?
That’s a question I ask myself every time I write a devotion.
That’s a question I ask myself every time I upload a podcast or record a Daily Devotion.
That’s a question I ask myself every time I publish a book.
Why do I do it?
Am I doing it so that people will see my name? Listen to my voice? See my face?
Honestly, that’s a big temptation for me. I’ve worked in radio since 1987. I’ve been writing devotions since 2001 or so.
I’ve published a blog since 2012 and published books since 2016.
The temptation for me is to do this so people will know me, hear of me, and talk about me.
I suppose that if I were to succumb to that temptation – gain fame or notoriety – I would write and speak on more “hip” topics, or at least more controversial topics.
But I’m not doing any of this for myself. The temptation is there to have selfish ambition or conceit, but the Holy Spirit keeps pulling me up short. He keeps me from pursing my own interests.
So why do I do all this?
I do it to tell other people about Jesus. I have a calling. I have been called by God to tell the Good News about Jesus. I don’t mean just my calling as a pastor.
I mean I have the calling that all Christians have – to make disciples of all nations, to share the love of Jesus, to use the gifts God has given me to proclaim the love God has for all sinners.
As St. Paul says, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” I have had a hard time with that. My natural state of being is a selfish one.
But since Christ has saved me, the Holy Spirit works on my heart to look to the interest of others.
I look to the interests of my wife. I love her and try to make her life one of joy, as much as in my lies. I mostly do this by keeping the house as clean and tidy as possible with three young men living with us. I pray for her and with her and we have daily devotions together.
I look to the interests of my sons. I love them and have been raising them to love God and serve their neighbors as best they can. We enjoy fun together, sometimes baseball, sometimes video games, sometimes fishing. I encourage them to learn how to do every day handyman-type of work and they have been helping a disabled man in our congregation. They’ve also help various seasoned citizens who are widows with odd-jobs and what-not.
And I look to the interests of others as I serve a Christian congregation as one of their pastors. I visit the sick homebound. I teach children and adults. I preach and lead worship.
As Jesus Christ has saved me from sin, death, and the power of the devil through his death and resurrection, I no longer have to give in to the temptation of being selfish and self-centered.
The temptation is still there. And I live my life in such a way that can appear to be egotistical – I write, publish, record, and teach & preach in public.
And I get paid for these things.
The difference is that I’m not doing them for the paycheck and I’m not doing them to be noticed.
I do all these things so that as many people as possible can see that Jesus Christ is Lord of all. So that as many people as possible can hear the Gospel of Jesus – that he saved the world from sin and death through his death on the cross.
God has richly blessed me as I do all these things, to be sure.
But I’m doing them for God and not for myself. And I pray that the Holy Spirit will continue to keep me honest and humble for the sake of others and for the glory of God.
Heavenly Father, with all I do I pray that I will bring glory to your name and the Gospel of Jesus to as many people as possible. Thank you for my calling! In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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