It was President Ronald Reagan who said, “There is no limit to the amount of good you can do if you don’t care who gets the credit.” The ability to have a disinterest in attention and freedom from selfishness comes from a place of humility and strength – the strength to know oneself well and be secure in that knowledge, as well as the humility to care more about the cause than self.
The Apostle Paul had so learned humility from his Lord, and was so thoroughly convinced of the gospel’s centrality that he did not care who got the credit when it came to proclaiming Jesus. “Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will…. The former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice.”
The burning, driving, constant, and passionate pursuit of Paul was the advance of the gospel. He wanted the entire world to know Jesus Christ crucified, risen from death, ascended and coming again. And Paul would do anything and drain himself of every drop of self-centeredness in order to champion that great cause of seeing people repent and believe the gospel.
Is your heart enamored with Jesus? Is it hot with the desire to see the gospel of grace transform the world? Do you lay awake at night wondering how to introduce Jesus to others? Is the great cause of your life to find ways of meeting the world’s deep need with the deep love of Christ? Attention and recognition are overrated. Instead, give up your life and you will find it.
Gracious God, thank you for the example of your servant Paul. I rejoice in what you did in and through his life. I am available for your purposes. Use me in the advance of your gospel of grace so that I might more fully participate in your grand forgiveness mission. Amen.