“But it is good to be zealous in a good thing always, and not only when I am present with you.”
But it is good to be zealous in a good thing always,
Zeal is commendable if other criteria are also present. Paul was zealous for the Galatians, but truth controlled his zeal. He did not preach to gain popularity (Philippians 1:15-18), but the apostle preached truth even when it cost him personally.
Paul was not against other leaders influencing the Galatians so long as they did so “in a good thing.” He did not exclude other leaders from interacting with his followers.
and not only when I am present with you
The Galatians had a zeal for grace when Paul was with them, but when he left, they became vulnerable to the legalists. God’s work should never depend on people. It must go on even when key leaders must leave. The fact that other leaders are zealous toward Paul’s followers is not wrong in itself. He welcomed the fact that his followers would attach themselves to other leaders so long as those leaders teach the truth.
Freedom from pettiness advances the cause of Christ.
Zeal is good if we exercise it under the restraint of truth. Leaders should release their followers to the influence of other leaders, so long as those leaders teach the truth.
Christian leaders should not possess their followers so as to exclude others from influencing them. God uses different people with different gifts. Some sow, others water, yet others reap. Petty jealousy should never get in the way of the growth of our followers. Great leaders seek the welfare of their people, not their own welfare.