Fancy Rhetoric

God didn’t send me out to collect a following for myself, but to preach the Message of what he has done, collecting a following for him. And he didn’t send me to do it with a lot of fancy rhetoric of my own, lest the powerful action at the center—Christ on the Cross—be trivialized into mere words.” ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭1‬:‭17‬

I am not an eloquent speaker. I prefer simple words over technical terms that then need more explanation. I work in a field that is full of degreed jargon, both in the medical field and the counseling field. I’ve never tried to memorize those terms, except for the purpose of a test. Then they are quickly gone from my mind.

This often makes me question myself and feel like an imposter, both professionally and personally. Despite the lives I see transformed, it is easy to get in my head when I start looking at others. I love to see God at work in and through me. He has given me the gift of applied wisdom I have been told; the ability to see His Word in light of clinical training and the ability to apply it in the moment to situations.

At time I start looking at how many follow me. Who remembers me? Who praises me? Who gives me credit? All the while, my heart cries “Lord, help me make You know.” The words of the Casting Crown song with Matthew West “Nobody” says “If they all forget my name, that is fine with me. I am living for the world to see, nobody but Jesus.” It is easy to sing, but at times, it just isn’t true. That flesh part of me wants to be seen. It wants to be heard and validated. It wants to be remembered.

I feel like Paul had the same problem and had to remind himself (And us) that we are not trying to collect our own following. That is hard in this day and age where the world is looking at likes, followers and subscribers. Paul was reminding the Corinthians that it wasn’t him they were to follow. He was called to preach Christ. Paul trained under some of the most elite scholars in his time. In Acts 22:3 Paul shares part of his credentials “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated at the feet of Gamaliel according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers, being zealous for God as all of you are this day.

It was when Paul stepped back and let God work through him that lives were transformed. Miracles followed Paul during his ministry, the power of God working through him. Yet in Acts 17:16-34 Paul ministers in Athens, although led by Holy Spirit, he reasoned with the leaders. It was likely more fancy rhetoric than he used in the rest of his ministry. He spoke of Christ on the cross and the resurrection. There was not a demonstration of power, I have heard that is because there was a lot of sorcery at that time that would have mimicked Holy Spirit only cheapening the powerful acts. I don’t believe his words were without power, he was meeting the Athenians where they were, as Paul did for all the people to whom he ministered.

For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings. 1 Corinthians 9:19-23

We too are called to a specific people and have been equipped to meet them where they are. I recognize that I am not a minister to the masses. Although there are professionals I minister to, I do not minister to them in that capacity, but in the capacity of their own hurt and brokenness. It will never be about me or creating a following for myself if my true ministry is to Christ. If I am working unto Him, the outcome is up to Him and the following is for Him.

Just as a cup is not praised for serving it’s purpose, we are Christ’s workmanship, carrying out the purpose He designed us for, not of our own design. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10

And He has equipped me though others to do the work of His ministry. I believe even the secular training I have helped to equip me for the calling that God placed on my life. And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Ephesians 4:11-14

SO when I start to get into my head, I will remember this Scripture and that for all the people who were led to Christ by Paul, he knew it was not for his own personal following. If God wanted me to use eloquent language, I would have been designed that way. If He needed me to be someone that has a mass of people interested in what I had to say, He would make that happen. For now, I will focus on being obedient to share what He puts inside of me, in whatever way the doors are opened. I do not need an enormous audience, it may just be the one He calls me to reach. And for that one, I will continue to preach with the words He has given me and the testimony of my life and Christ crucified.

Prayer – Lord, thank you for Your revelation and for Your forgiveness for times when I try to make it about me. Also for Your forgiveness when I have not stepped out for fear I was making it about me. I want to hear Your voice. I want to share Your Word. I want to fulfill the plans and purpose that You created me for, not try to be someone I am not. Lord, let me serve You from the overflow of my life just as Paul did. Amen.

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