If you serve Christ in any kind of ministry, let me urge you to print this text and post it where you will see it often. Or better yet – memorize it! (Listen here to the sermon on this text from 10-2-11)
For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, 4 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. 5 For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed— God is witness. 6 Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ. 7 But we were gentleamong you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children.8 So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.
9 For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. 10 You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers. 11 For you know how, like a father with his children,12 we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.
13 And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you receivedthe word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers. (1 Thessalonians 2:3-13, ESV)
There are so many ways that we can dishonor God by insecure, false, or selfish motives. We need to do Christ’s work in Christ-like ways. It means starting with the authority of God’s Word, seeking only His glory, not serving ourselves or making up for deficits in our own lives. It means having a ‘spiritual parent’ and being a spiritual parent for others in ways that honor God in everything. It’s a high calling. It’s the only way to truly ‘make disciples’ modeled for us in Scripture!