Bible Reading: 1 Thessalonians 2:1-16

“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 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” (1 Thessalonians 2:4-6)

The gospel itself is our model for selfless, God-exalting ministry. When someone experiences a changed life by the gospel, to share the gospel not for our own merit but as a response to our loving God is a joyful response. Take Paul’s story. 

Paul was a persecutor of the church. He was a zealous Jew who thought highly of his Jewish religion. He thought the Christian God was blaspheme to the true God. Because of that, he went around arresting and killing Christians so that His nation and the world would not be corrupted by a message he thought to be heresy. However, on the road to Damascus, Paul meets Jesus, who appears to him from heaven. Jesus says, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” At this moment, Paul realises that he had been in the wrong. Jesus was the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He had lived rebelliously against it. Before Jesus, Paul knew what he deserved was severe punishment for his sins. 

However, Jesus forgave Paul. Paul’s blinded sight was restored, and God sent Paul to be His missionary to the Gentiles. Put yourselves in the shoes of Paul for a minute. He had just received the greatest gift of grace anyone could ever receive. To be on God’s side is a privilege no one deserves, let alone a murderer and zealous rebel against God’s people. It was a miracle. And this is the profound truth of the gospel. Paul’s experience of conversion should also be ours. It might not be as dramatic as Paul’s. However, true children of God will understand that they were once lost in sin. However, they have received abundant undeserved grace to repent and turn to God. 

If we can identify this in our lives, hold on to it. Because when we talk about serving God or ministry, it is not about filling a do and don’t checklist to be a good Christian. A life that serves God or a life that is for ministry is life in response to God’s free grace, which He has given us. If we have never known the grace of God personally for ourselves, we will never know what it means to serve God. 

Do you know Christ? Romans 10:9 says, “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved”. Jesus died for our sins of rebellion on the cross. If we humbly repent, believe in Him, and surrender to Him as Lord over our lives, we will be saved, and we will know what wondrous grace God has given us. 

If we have known such grace, let us be bold in our ministry. We do not serve to please other people. We do not even serve with achievement or success in ministry as our goal. We serve as our loving response to a God who has loved us first. As we run the race, do not look left or right. Instead, look up to the Source of our grace. His love and bountiful mercy are what will keep our ministry going. In loving and humble obedience to Him, let us keep walking to selflessly serve the world with the gospel He has entrusted to us. 

Lord, thank You for the grace You have given me. Thank You that I can come to know You. That is Your grace alone. Praise be to You! Help me, Lord, to know Your grace even more. With that, help me to obey You and learn to respond humbly to Your grace. Make me Your servant. In Jesus’ name, amen.