“Nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, when we might have made demands as apostles of Christ“
either from you
The team did not come to Thessalonica to get the Thessalonians to gush and fawn all over their ministries. They did not look for recognition from others. Ministry can become an end in itself. We can seek credit, plaudits, and adulation from people as our main end.
Leaders who do not care whether they receive the applause or compliments of men are independent and free to lead as God wills. They will receive their reward in heaven.
“‘And do you seek great things for yourself? Do not seek them; for behold, I will bring adversity on all flesh,’ says the LORD. ‘But I will give your life to you as a prize in all places, wherever you go’” (Jeremiah 45:5).
”But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).
Our central purpose is to live to glorify God, not self.
Leadership that constantly looks to please people will never lead properly. If we live intending to gain the approbation of others and not God, we will live our lives in vain.
Seeking the glory of men is a very subtle temptation in leadership. Living to the glory of God is the central purpose of our existence. If we swerve from that purpose, things will go haywire in our ministries.
“Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us,
But to Your name give glory,
Because of Your mercy,
Because of Your truth” (Psalm 115:1).
Most of us feel that it is our responsibility to establish a reputation. There is a great difference between reputation and character. Reputation is what people think we are, and character is what we actually are. Why should we seek to establish our reputation when we all march under the same flag, the flag of the Lord Jesus Christ. There is no place for competition among Christian leaders or Christian churches. We are all in the same army, and we all have the same general, Jesus. We may not all have the same rank, but we all march under the same flag. We are all in the service of General Jesus.
“Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up on behalf of one against the other” (1 Corinthians 4:6).