A Sense of Privilege Gives Motivation

A Sense of Privilege Gives Motivation

Stuart Briscoe

As we saw in the last post, a compelled person has motivation to preach and minister.  A sense of privilege gives motivation to preachers as well.  What do I mean by a sense of privilege?  Many years ago Stuart Briscoe spoke on  the passage below, and I return to them often now in seeking motivation.  This is what it says in I Corinthians 4:1-5:

4 This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed. 2 Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. 3 I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. 4 My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. 5 Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.

The Privilege of Position Impacts Motivation

There are a couple of phrases and words here that indicate that a sense of privilege gives motivation to Paul as he goes about his calling.  The first is the word “servants”.  Paul says that he regards himself, and asks that the Corinthians look at him as a servant as well.

A Special Kind of Servant

You find this word another place in the New Testament.  When John Mark traveled with Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey, he has a title (Acts 13:5).  He is their “minister”  (King James Version), or “helper” in more modern translations.  This word describes someone who purchased the boat tickets, and who found lodging each night.  He handled the little things. Paul uses that same word here.  This is a different word from the more common words for “servant” in the New Testament. The word in the original Greek is huperetes.   The literal translation of the word would be “Underrower”.

Battle Ship

Picture the ships of that time.  There was a lower deck where the rowers sat and pulled at their oar.  On the upper deck was the captain.  The captain decided where the ship was going to go, and how fast the rowers needed to row.  The job of the rower, the huperetes, was to pull at his oar.

Do you see the importance of your position as a preacher?  You have the privilege of being an underrower.  In other words, you get to pull on the oar, or work that God has given you.  You don’t have to make the big decisions.  You simply need to obey the captain’s call.

A Keeper of Mysteries

A sense of privilege gives motivation to the preacher.  Paul announces another aspect of his position that motivated him.  He says that the Corinthians should consider him as someone who is a “entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed.”

When I think of a mystery, I think of some of my favorite fiction authors.  The story begins with a crime or a murder.  Then, in subsequent chapters, clues appear about who the villain is.  Then, at the end, the identity of the murderer becomes clear.  The truth is hidden until the end of the story.  That is not what Paul is saying is his identity: the holder of secrets.

In Greek society there were many secret societies.  Much was secret about what went on in them until you joined. Once you joined, the leaders revealed all the secrets. Paul says here that he has a privileged position.  He’s “in”.  He knows all the secrets about the big questions of life.

Think about that!  You are privileged.  Many people are baffled about the purpose of life, about what God is like, and about what is going to happen at the end of life and the end of time, but God revealed the answers to you.  God entrusted you with these truths so that you can tell others.

A Sense of Privilege

Do you see how privileged you are to be a preacher?  Celebrate this position God has given you when you open the Word, and let it motivate you to faithful service.