Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Rejoicing in what matters

Some proclaim Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from goodwill. These proclaim Christ out of love, knowing that I have been put here for the defense of the gospel; the others proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition.... What does it matter? Just this, that Christ is proclaimed in every way, whether out of false motives or true; and in that I rejoice.

Philippians 1:15-18

Though my inbox gets cluttered with “Verse and Voice” daily emails from Sojourners, I consider it more than worth it because I am so often challenged by the verses they select to send out. Regarding this passage from Philippians chapter 1, I was humbled to recall how often I’ve judged televangelists, mega-church pastors, and rebellious emerging types based on my interpretations of their motives. What Paul writes here convicts me not only of my judgments of others (clearly denounced as wrong throughout the Bible) but even more exposes my lack of conviction regarding the power of the message and the life-changing implications of the Good News. False motives, bad theology, lack of cultural understanding, even lies, are not enough to blunt the message or to stop the mission. As flawed and irresponsible people, we are all great at pointing the finger … but the truth is that we are all competitive, we are all selfish, and we are all a mixture of goodwill and bad intentions. Paul calls us to rejoice in the message regardless of the delivery. I am going to pray that God allows me to have a large heart for all his people and to focus attention on the things that I can control.    


Ryan Townsend

Young Adults/College Pastor

Northpark Community Church

2297 E. Shepherd Ave

Fresno, CA 93720

559-322-7200 ext. 19



Unknown said...

If your mission is for everyone to hear the Good News, then your attitude follows in line. As long as the mission is continued, it's all good.

justin said...

great reminder. it's especially painful because i feel so self-righteous when i'm judging those who (in my blameless estimation) represent the gospel poorly.

Ryan Townsend said...

even more painful is the fact that I have to continually strive to represent the gospel correctly no matter what anyone else is doing. righteousness is something that we can't mandate (at least from what I read in the Bible) from others but we must strive for ourselves. AND we know that we will always fail to achieve it 100%.