Are You Pursuing Personal Gain or Serving Christ?

“I have no one who is as like-minded, who is sincere in his concern toward you, for all strive after their own aims, not those of Jesus Christ.”

(Philippians 2:20-21)

If you recall, towards the beginning of this book, Paul writes that there are many around him preaching the gospel out of pretense and for personal gain; it is clearly these that Paul has in mind when he states that no one but Timothy is of a like mind. For Timothy, this statement is a huge honor, but what a statement of judgment upon those who, well, the others — those whose interests are only their own and not Jesus Christ’s interests. As great a compliment as it must have been for Timothy, what a rebuke for the others.

In a very real sense, though, Paul is setting up two categories of those who serve in the ministry — those that serve themselves and those that serve Jesus Christ. Or perhaps I could put it this way: those that labor and strive to achieve their personal goals and reputation and those that willingly pour themselves out to serve Christ and His church. You want the latter as your pastor, not the former…

Can we not also apply these categories to all believers? Indeed we can. There are many who will fill the pews of a church for their own purposes — the sermons are interesting or make them feel good, the fellowship is enjoyable, their family goes to the church, etc… Yet the reason to go to church is to be equipped to serve Jesus. In addition, the reason to live life is to serve Jesus. No man can have two masters, Jesus taught, we cannot serve Jesus and our own interests at the same time. Whose interests will you serve?

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