There are many portions of Scripture we are all familiar with, but there are some that need to be reread again in context to understanding their true meaning. After preaching a fourth sermon on Paul’s first letter, Galatians, I believe the heart of Paul is being renewed in me. For these few churches, he was willing to be “again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in” them (4:19).
This raises a question with any of us in the position of being shepherds, teachers, overseers, elders and pastors. How seriously do we take the spiritual growth of those we serve and minister to? Do we see our position as just giving out spiritual information, or do we have the heart of a disciple maker – helping others follow Christ? As Paul felt, the pure gospel was at stake in the souls of the Galatian believers and he would go through pain to make sure that was preserved in them. He was very protective of what had been planted by grace through faith in them because false teachers were diluting the Gospel in these churches.
In a similar way, Paul felt the same toward the Corinthians. “I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. I urge you, then, be imitators of me” (1 Corinthians 4:14–16).
What is the distinction between a “guide” and a “father”? A “guide” is like a guardian set over others to manage their affairs. A “father” is one who has a loving relationship and invests in his children so their maturity and future has the highest potential. If we are going to follow Paul’s model of planting and establishing churches, it cannot be done without this key principle being at the heart of our ministry. Are you like Paul in this respect? How much pain are you willing to endure to see others mature in Christ? Are there any other motives that influence your thinking and work for the Lord?
Link To Our Old Blog: