I was saved in a large church whose pastor was dynamic in preaching and personality. When my heart was burdened to go into the ministry, I hesitated, thinking I would never be a man as capable as this pastor. While in college, it was my privilege to listen to a number of preachers who were extraordinary in their preaching skills, and again I thought I could never become what they were. During my years of ministry, I have met several outstanding preachers and prolific writers. This could have caused me to be discouraged, if not envious, unless I, like the Apostle Paul, embraced two important lessons.
Though Paul led the believers at Corinth to a saving knowledge of Christ, many were being disrespectfully rebellious toward him as God’s Apostle of Grace. “For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible” (II Corinthians 10:10). Perhaps they were comparing him to Apollos, “an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures” (Acts 18:24). At the very least, Paul had to rebuke the Corinthians for divided loyalties to men. He wrote them, saying, “Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul, and I of Apollos, and I of Cephas, and I of Christ. Is Christ divided” (I Corinthians 1:12)? The reality was, Paul was not an eloquent man and few would have wanted him as their pastor. He admitted, “I be rude in speech” (II Corinthians 11:6) and that when with these believers, he “came not with excellency of speech” (I Corinthians 2:1). But two truths kept him faithful in ministry. He knew, “God hath distributed to us” the capabilities each of us have (II Corinthians 10:13). Therefore, all God expects us to do is our best, rather than being as successful as someone else. Then he embraced the principle: “For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise” (II Corinthians 10:12).
It is time for each of us to stop comparing ourselves with others, which only leads to envy and discouragement. God only expects you to do the best you can with the capabilities He has “distributed” to you. Simply be faithful with the time, abilities, and opportunities the Lord has entrusted to you, and choose to be content with these God-given blessings. Embrace this and simply be faithful.
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