God’s work or “my” work?

by Rev Jason Phua

Bible readings: Acts 18:1-22; Psalm 145:1-21

READ (verse for reflection)
Acts 18:6 “And when they opposed and reviled him, he shook out his garments and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”

Paul was called by God to preach first to the Jews and then to the Gentiles (Ref: Acts 13; Romans 1). When the Jews in Corinth consistently responded to Paul’s testimony of Jesus Christ in contempt; he decided that he will just leave them to their own devices. In this sense, Paul was following Jesus’ teaching on not giving “holy things” to “dogs” or “pearls” to “pigs” (ref Matthew 7:6). This passage reminds us that there will be times when despite our constant prayers, diligence in the sharing of the Gospel or even suffering in persecution for the sake of Christ, there will be persons who would reject the Lord’s offer of salvation. We need not feel guilty since we have done our part and at the end of the day, God is the One who harvest the souls.

This passage also serves as a reminder that we should just let things be if the Lord call us to do so. We should not insist on going our way – even if such ways has to do with the “holy things” of God. Our insistence to continue despite the Lord’s clear directions could just be the manifestation of our “messiah complex” or even treating ministry as an ego-booster. May we examine ourselves always so that God’s Name be glorified (and never ours).

I once made the serious mistake of treating God’s work as “my” work. Hence, even when it is time for me to “let go” of caring for a particular brother in ministry; I continued. I continued not because the Lord was calling me to do so; I continued because I was prideful and thought I could make a difference. In the end, I suffered a betrayal and nothing fruitful came out of it. It was a big lesson for me to constantly seek the Lord in humility and always be reminded that it is the Lord’s ministry. I am just a steward and servant; nothing more.

Lord, may You help us to constantly examine our own hearts and minds when it comes to serving You. May you bring to mind any form of “impurities” that we might have carried into ministry; and help us to get rid of all these things so we can serve You in purity. Amen.