Anytime I am studying the Bible, I usually engage in detailed analysis. In fact, sometimes I can stay on a verse for a long time considering the Greek and Hebrew and other languages to have a broader understanding of God’s Word.
Again, whenever I come to the last chapter of Paul’s Epistles, I pay attention to the people he usually greets. Everybody knows frontline ministers of God, but there are people who work assiduously to help them to fulfil their ministry. I always want to see what Paul says about them.
In this instance, I was surprised to see what Paul said about Andronicus and Junia. He said:
“Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellow prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.” Romans 16:7 (NRSV).
“Greet Andronicus and Junia, my countrymen and my fellow prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.” Romans 16:7 (NKJV).
According to that verse, Andronicus was a kinsman of Paul and a fellow prisoner at some time, particularly well-known among the apostles, and had become a follower of Jesus Christ before Paul’s Damascus road conversion. It is generally assumed that Junia was his wife, but they could have been brother and sister, or father and daughter, or no close relation to each other, but to Paul as kinsmen.
Mary Jane Chaignot opined, “Andronicus means “Man of victory,” and Junias (being feminine) was probably his wife. Paul calls them his “kinfolk,” which probably means fellow-workers, though some argue for a literal reading of them being related to him.
He also refers to them as “fellow prisoners,” meaning they might have shared some prison time together. There is no record of this, but Paul was imprisoned on several occasions.
They were “outstanding among the apostles,” but were not part of the original Twelve. (This is where scholars have a hard time thinking Junias was a woman. It would mean that a woman was a bona fide apostle. Though Chrysostom reportedly wrote: “Oh! how great is the devotion of this woman, that she should be even counted worthy of the appellation of apostle!”
Paul declares that they were Christians even before he was. That would mean they were among the earliest of believers. Perhaps they were in that first group at Pentecost. (Though this is also speculative.)”
When I saw “who also were in Christ before me,” I was shocked. How can a renown and widely travelled apostle who took the gospel to the ends of the earth “belittle” himself to acknowledge that one of his protégés were in the ministry before him? That’s an anomaly.
Some frontline ministers of God will never say that today in order not to make themselves seem little in the sight of church members. How can a popular and revered minister who travels to different nations for programs tell a congregation that the person who carries his bags whenever he is travelling got saved before him?
That is why I like Paul. He says things the way they are. He doesn’t hold anything back even if it will make people look down on him, and that is how it should be. That the person you led to Christ is holding crusades in stadiums across the world shouldn’t make you feel uncomfortable. When you get to heaven Jesus will reward you for leading the person into the Kingdom.
Celebrate people’s exploits and stop looking for ways to belittle them. That you mentored a minister doesn’t give you the right to look down on him or tell everyone that “If not for me, this brother wouldn’t be where he is today in ministry.” Anyone who says that is struggling with low self-esteem. He is trying to play god or to let everyone know that he is the god of that minister.
You can never hear me call anybody my son or daughter in the Lord. How can I who is still a son call someone a son or daughter? I have young men and women I am mentoring in the ministry, but they are not my sons and daughters. They are servants of the Most High God.
There is nothing wrong in calling someone your spiritual son or daughter. But there is everything wrong in belittling someone’s exploits in the Kingdom or appropriating someone else’s exploits. You are not God. Stop behaving as if God couldn’t have used the person without you!
In fact, I discovered few years ago that anyone who go about telling people that he trained a particular minister didn’t do anything. People like that are simply looking for ways to share from the person’s glory. They want to be noticed and celebrated as well.
Sometime last year, I met a particular God’s servant who played an important role in my life as a young minister. He was the first person who took me to programs and showed me how to preach before large crowds. He stood by me from that very day till tomorrow.
When I got to his house and began to recount the important roles he played from day one, guess what? He didn’t even remember. He forgot all. He said that God used him to play the role in my life, that he is not God. I was shocked. How can this man not remember how he stood by me all these years?
That was when I discoverd that real mentors don’t remember the role they played in people’s lives—they simply do their part and move on with their lives.
But those who did nothing are the ones who won’t allow you to rest. They literally follow you about like the Pharisees and Sadducees telling everyone that they mentored or trained you.
Humility is Key to Supernatural Elevation.
Stop boosting about your ministerial exploits. Stop going about telling people that you raised this or that minister. If you humble yourself God will exalt you. Let the people you mentored be the ones to tell people about your impact in their lives.
Andronicus and Junia did not go about telling people that they got saved before Paul. It was Paul who said it by himself. It is possible that they played major role in Paul’s ministry, but they stayed in the background and allowed Paul to tell people about it.
Jesus said, “For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 14:11. (NKJV).
Paul said, “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:1-3. (NKJV).
I know that God called you. I know also that you mentored people whose ministerial exploits seems to be greater than yours (even though no ministry is greater than others in the Kingdom), but do it with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Continuing, Paul said, “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.” Colossians 3:12-15. (NKJV)
You must understand that at the end of the day, it is God who uses us. Therefore wear (put on) tender mercies, kindness, meekness and gentleness. Bear with one another even when they make mistake. Let love be your watchword. Humble yourself so that God will exalt you. Stop bragging about what you did for this and that, let the person be the one to say it.
In conclusion, we are not in charge—God is. He is the one who uses anyone He likes. We only declare and God confirms. If He doesn’t confirm it, you won’t beat Him. So, humble yourself dear ministers of God. Stop bragging. You are nothing without God. No wonder Paul said:
“Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 3:5-11. (NKJV).
I declare that from today you will not be distracted by people’s exploits. Rather you will celebrate and learn from them and give all the glory to God. As you do that from today, God will take your ministry to the next level. You will witness uncommon signs and wonders anywhere you preach in Jesus matchless name!
If you want to recieve Jesus into your heart, say this short prayer and believe it from your heart:
Lord Jesus, I belive that you died to rescue me from damnation. Come into my heart and save me. I declare today that You are my Lord and personal Saviour. I am saved. I am born again. Thank you Jesus. Amen.
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