Been thinkin’…

…about jealousy in ministry.

In Numbers 11.16-30, Moses obeys God’s instruction to appoint 70 elders to share in the responsibility of ministry (á la Jethro, interestingly enough.) When they begin to prophesy as evidence that God had put His Spirit upon them, Joshua comes by with the urgent news that Eldad and Medad are prophesying, thus usurping Moses’ authority and undermining his already shaky hold on leadership. Moses’ reply? “Oh, that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put His Spirit upon them!” In this case, Moses demonstrates no jealousy for his JURISDICTION.

In John 3, Jesus has begun to baptize in Judea. John the Baptizer’s disciples think that Jesus is cutting in on his territory and stealing the spotlight from the first Jewish prophet in 400 years—a serious breach of protocol, as far as they are concerned. In the middle of his response to his disciples, John speaks these now famous words about Christ in verse 30: “He must increase, but I must decrease.” Far from being jealous of Jesus’ sudden rise in popularity, John readily acknowledges the divinity of Jesus and understands his own place in God’s scheme as the forerunner to Messiah. He is not jealous of Jesus’ REPUTATION.

Philippians 1 gives us another glimpse at a man who was not jealous in ministry. Paul, who was a stickler for correct theology and even told the Galatian believers that if anyone taught them a different gospel than he had taught them, they were to be cursed, says in verse 18, “What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, and will rejoice.” Paul is glad the gospel is being preached regardless of the reason, because he knows it is “the power of God for salvation.” (Rom 1.16) Though he is ruthless in terms of their theology, He is not jealous because of others’ MOTIVATION.

It is very easy to get jealous in ministry, especially in team situations. We must remember that Christ is building His Church and that we are simply privileged to be used by Him for whatever purpose He deems appropriate.


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