Acts 13:42-43 (ESV)
“42As they went out, the people begged that these things might be told them the next Sabbath. 43And after the meeting of the synagogue broke up, many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who, as they spoke with them, urged them to continue in the grace of God.”
As followers of Christ there will be people, if there are not already, who really appreciate the words of love, comfort, compassion, hope and forgiveness, that we have to offer. Now if your words don’t carry any of these characteristics, then there is some self examining that needs to be done, but that’s another subject. Back on topic, the leadership position we face when giving advice or mentoring others can be dangerous in two ways: the person being mentored begins to put their hope in the mentor and/or the mentor begins to think it is he/she who is great and not God who is working through them.
The passage above would have been controversial if not for the end of verse 43, which says that Paul and Barnabas urged them to continue in following GOD. Indeed, Paul and Barnabas were anointed men of God and very gifted speakers, however they also knew that their anointing and gifts came from their Father in heaven. As humans, saved or unsaved, it is very easy to accept the praises of men, especially for a man like Paul who was the, self-proclaimed, worst of all sinners. A man who had devoted his life to evil, filth and demise, to be changed into a man speaking life into those who are lost is a huge turn around. Imagine putting yourself in his shoes, wouldn’t it be nice to go from someone who persecutes others to a man who others look up to, and furthermore wouldn’t it be nice to accept the praises of others? We are all lying to ourselves if we say that wouldn’t feel pretty good. Feeling good about speaking life and sharing the hope we have, with others is not bad, it’s when we forget to give credit to our Father in heaven who has not only placed us in a position to mentor but also equipped us with the tools to do so.
Don’t let others forget who has saved and restored you from your wretched, self-indulging ways and most importantly do not let yourself forget who gives you life each and everyday. Take time to thoroughly thank and praise our creator who has given us wonderful opportunities to expand His Kingdom! God Bless.