What are your motives for being in ministry?
Summary: This is an excerpt from a Q&A session at the end of a recording session of The Spiritual Life of the Minister, which will be released soon. The discussion revolves around how to deter those of us in ministry from building our own personal kingdom rather than God's Kingdom.
Dr. Bill Mounce, Question:
We had talked earlier about whether we are doing things for our kingdom or for the Lord's Kingdom and what hit me was the whole reality that we could be so self-deceived. And I know you touched on that, but at a real practical level how can you distinguish between [these].
Dr. Stephen Martyn, Answer:
I think, Bill, that the honest gospel truth is that, as an individual, I am not fully capable of seeing it. And I also think that the more gifts and the more graces that God has given me, the more capable I am of self-deception. And so, I'm telling you I'm speaking out of my own personal life here. I'm not being theoretical; none of this is theoretical. I think the only way that we can avoid self-deception is through the community that we live in and are a part of. If I'm a male in ministry and if I am married, I would want to know what does my wife think. If I am a female in ministry and I'm married, I'd want to know what does my husband think.
Moreover, Christianity is “WE” not “ME”. So for non-English speakers, Christianity is in the plural not in the singular. There are some things that singularly can only be accomplished. No one else can accept the goodness of God's kingdom on [your behalf]. For me, I have to accept that myself. But there is an aspect of it as you know [that should be a “WE”]. When you look John-Paul Sartre, where does it lead? It leads to individualism. And egotism. It's just whatever feels right and whatever feels good for you. So, I just have to answer that by saying (and we are going to come back to this by what I'll say later) is that this comes from the early church. In the early church, they talked about this. There were eight deadly sins in the early church, not seven. But there's a lot more than that. But anyway, the beginning of holiness is the realization that all of the eight deadly sins reside in my life all of them. And the worst of the worst is vainglory, followed by pride. Vainglory is to say, “man, I'm good! I was good.” And you take the credit yourself. You take the credit. The only way I know to [not] do that is to submit myself to a small group of people whom I allow to speak into my life. I have to have the body of Christ. Only the body of Christ will keep me from building a personal kingdom.