The media describes his ministry as “fishy” and the reports eventually provide the evidence of foul play. An investigation is ugly, long and drawn out, it reveals another professing minister of the gospel has succumbed to the temptation to dip a little too deep into the money bag.
It’s no secret that all who claim to be ministers of the gospel today aren’t serving with the right spirit that the Bible describes as expedient to Jesus’ body. Again and again, a survey of Scripture reveals His true servants will possess His heart and mind, not an unquenchable covetousness for power, fame, and fortune.
When it becomes obvious that some have fallen prey to the lusts of personal gain, our first reaction is usually to attack their motive for service, even questioning whether their faith is real or not.
While we are called to seek instruction from those who live and teach the truth, and understanding that the Bible offers strict warnings to those who abuse their position, there is an interesting situation that surfaces in the life of Paul that gives much guidance on how we respond to such people.
As Paul addressed the church of Philippi, two seeming obstacles had presented themselves; he was in prison and there were wolves presenting themselves as shepherds before the flock.
To both of these Paul sees no obstacles, but finds that the gospel is going forward just as planned. As far as his imprisonment, Paul declares that because of his chains, the Imperial Guard is now aware of (1:13), and spreading the news of his being locked up for preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. The purpose of this elite group was to announce the coming of a new Emperor, Caesar. What better group than these to proclaim the coming of the King of kings and Lord of lords? In Paul’s mind, he understood that God had requisitioned these to proclaim that Jesus had taken His rightful throne.
As for those who were sharing the gospel for the wrong reasons… to personal gain, Paul finds a positive stance to embrace. “Even though they’re doing it out of envy and strife, the news of Jesus is being spread!” ~ Philippians 1:18
Paul’s Lord was not limited or stifled in the least by the fleshly desires of men. Paul’s attitude in everything, both what could be considered good and bad, sounds interestingly familiar to the story of Joseph in the Old Testament.
His brothers abused him and sold him into slavery, a wicked woman accused him and had him thrown in prison, but when all was said and done in God’s timeline, Joseph ended up with much authority and in effect, literally saving the nation of Israel.
When approached by his brothers, he declared, “What you meant for evil, God meant for good.”
How wise would we be to see all that encompasses our lives as God at work doing good? Even when it doesn’t look or feel like it?
The gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God unto salvation… it’s life-giving work will not be compromised by the efforts of men.
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28