Authority To Edify - Part Two
9 Characteristics of the Authority To Edify
So much can be learned from Paul's example in ministry. His writings and what has been written about him provide a wealth of information. Most of us have not been given the same broad scope of ministry that was entrusted to Paul. However, the principles that he demonstrated are substantially helpful for anyone dealing with people. As mentioned in the previous post, we all will give an account of how we handled our assignments. To minister is to serve. Some people seem to think that ministry means to "be served". The qualities expressed in these passages reflect a passion and a purpose that is in harmonny with the heart of God for His people.
Key scriptures: II Corinthians 1:23 – 2:4 (KJV)
23 Moreover I call God for a record upon my soul, that to spare you I came not as yet unto Corinth.
Characteristics: pure honesty and truth. Paul isn’t trying to use reverse psychology to get them to think or do as he wishes. He doesn’t try to use deception, guilt or anger that so many use to manipulate the people.
Paul puts their well-being ahead of his own plans and personal ministry desires. A true shepherd is primarily concerned about the comfort, safety and health of the sheep. Paul demonstrated a shepherd’s concern.
24 Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand.
Characteristic: humility. Paul acknowledged that he is not the big dog who is calling all the shots. He points out that he has no rulership over their faith or faithfulness. This encourages each believer to take responsibility for their own faith, including the growth, depth and maturing of that faith or belief system. Without direct, intentional attention, faith will stay the same, stagnate or wither, shrivel and shrink. Paul doesn’t see himself as a principal over them. He deems himself a co-laborer, a fellow-worker and a brother in the Lord.
2 But I determined this with myself, that I would not come again to you in heaviness.
Characteristic: patience. Even though Paul’s desire was urgent to interact with them in person, he was willing to wait until there was a release in his spirit from the Holy Ghost.
2 For if I make you sorry, who is he then that maketh me glad, but the same which is made sorry by me?
Characteristic: sensitivity. Paul is attuned to the timing that would be the most beneficial for his readers. He does not push ahead just to suit his own agenda or schedule or preferences.
3 And I wrote this same unto you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow from them of whom I ought to rejoice; having confidence in you all, that my joy is the joy of you all.
Characteristics: self-discipline and maturity. Even though Paul wanted an in-person visit, he resisted going. Maturity let him know that a poorly timed visit would not yield the results he hoped for. He did not want to cause sorrow or dread or heaviness by coming too soon. The delayed personal encounter gave them time to correct the concerns expressed in his writings to them.
4 For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you.
Characteristics: wisdom and empathy. Paul put himself in their place imagining how his presence would affect their hearts, spirits and morale if he arrived too soon. Paul was not oblivious or uncaring about their spiritual condition or their likely reactions to seeing him in person. It would be like having to face a parent who had confidence and trust in you as a child and you violated that trust. If the relationship is healthy, the child is shamed, grieved, embarrassed and possibly fearful at the prospect of facing the parent. Paul did not want that for them. And it wasn’t necessary since he addressed the pertinent issues in his letters.
It is easy to become disgruntled or disappointed when serving. There are so many varying situations and types of people that require your attention. God has shown us, through Paul, what it looks like to wisely and carefully exercise the Authority To Edify.
The new year is fast approaching. May the abundance of the Holy Father bless you and your household with more than enough. May the wisdom of the Spirit of Truth usher you into an arena of Grace and Truth that will transform lives, comfort hearts and bring clarity of thought to each person who is a receipient of your ministry. God Bless You!