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Thursday, March 01, 2012

A Humble Man of God - Reflecting on 1 Thessalonians 2

In my years as a Christian (almost 30) I have met very few men of God who are humble, especially pastors. Many of them have been quite the opposite. They have abused the position God has granted them. They have used it for their gain. As I look around in the "Christian world" I see few as well. Many carry Ph. D's and a name recognition which they show off. It isn't totally their fault. We, as humans, like to have our own idols. We make them who they are.


Let's be clear: I don't claim to be humble either. My heart is not free from the desire to be recognized or to be acknowledged for whatever talents I possess. But I don't have such a position either and I hope that I never do, if I am to use it for my own glory.


But that is not the topic. The man I want to talk about is St. Paul the Apostle in 1 Thessalonians 2. I just gave him a title which he probably seldom used or that people used to refer to him. In fact, I believe that most of the time he was called "brother Paul." Paul was an Apostle, who received direct commissioning from the Lord himself. As a man, he had the credentials. But he also had a past. He had been a murderer of Christians till Christ called Him. Physically, the man wasn't attractive either. Some say he had a speech impediment, was short and was probably somewhat blind. If this man was living today, he would never make it as a candidate for a church pastoral position. Yet this man was used by God to plant many churches one of them being in Thessalonica. Incidentally, he is the man God used to write thirteen of the New Testament Epistles which embody the doctrine of The Church.


In 1 Thessalonians chapter 2 Paul recounts how he had communicated the Gospel to the Thessalonians and how they had believed. As I read it, I sense the humility and tenderness of the man. Paul reminds them that he and his companions were holy, righteous, and blameless in the way they behaved before them. Yet, he says it in a very humble way. When he went, he preached in the power of God, not with flattery words nor seeking gain from them. He didn't demand anything as an Apostle, though he could off used his position for his own benefit. Instead, he says, he was gentle to them as a mother with her children. He was willing not only to give them the Gospel but his whole life. Like a father he encouraged them to walk in a manner worthy of God. He tells them how after being ousted from them he longed to see them but could not. At the end of the chapter, Paul calls them his "glory and joy."


That's the heart of a humble man of God. Let's all pray that we follow the Apostle Paul in his example. Let's strive for it!


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