Our world is full of those seeking their own glory. If you need an example, open your Instagram feed. There are examples after examples of those who seek their own glory, whether they use whit, sex, interest, or charm. The currency of glory, at least on Instagram, is hearts and comments. The more the better.
But I am not here to pick on Instagram. I post pictures on my account regularly. It is not a bad medium. I gain a lot of inspiration from others for my own photography. It is, however, an example of the natural human desire for self-glory.
I believe we all need to be aware of our natural tendencies, but today I want to speak specifically to ministry leaders and pastors. As leaders, we must be aware of our natural desire for self-glory. If we don’t, we will forget our reason for ministry.
Paul, as example
Paul, writing to the Thessalonians, seeks to clear up a misunderstanding they had regarding him and his ministry when he says:
“For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness. Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.” (1 Thess 2:3-8)
Paul is clear. He didn’t come:
- To please man but to please God.
- He didn’t seek to flatter.
- He wasn’t after their money.
- Nor was he seeking self-glory.
Paul came to the Thessalonians in order to preach the gospel to bring glory to God.
Not Our Glory
As ministry leaders, our desires must be pure. Our motives must always be right and good. We must not seek position in the church for our own glory or gain. If we are in it for what we can get out of it, we will be tempted to hedge when times are tough. Instead of standing up for what is right, we will let things slide to keep our position or status. Unwillingness to take a stand, seeking self glory, is not how healthy churches are formed. As ministry leaders, our goal should be to win others to Christ, help them grow in the faith, and bring glory to God. If that is not our focus, then we are deceiving ourselves and the people/church to whom we are seeking to minister.
For Our Ultimate Boss
While we might be able to hide our motives from men, we can’t hide them from God. He is the only One who can peer into the innermost recesses of our lives, into our very heart — will, mind, emotions — and see why we do what we do. He is the ultimate judge. Not only should we seek to please Him in all we do, but we must also seek His glory above our own.
Whose glory are you seeking?