2 Corinthians 10:12–18 (NKJV)
12 For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. 13 We, however, will not boast beyond measure, but within the limits of the sphere which God appointed us—a sphere which especially includes you. 14 For we are not overextending ourselves (as though our authority did not extend to you), for it was to you that we came with the gospel of Christ; 15 not boasting of things beyond measure, that is, in other men’s labors, but having hope, that as your faith is increased, we shall be greatly enlarged by you in our sphere, 16 to preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man’s sphere of accomplishment.2 Corinthians 10:12-18
17 But “he who glories, let him glory in the LORD.” 18 For not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends.
Paul establishes himself as operating rightly and being a faithful servant. His detractors boast of their own successes and try to diminish Paul. In this passage, Paul refuses to compare himself to them, and refuses to boast extravagantly of his own success as a leader. Paul realizes that he does not need to “win” over those who criticize him, but rather he will allow his record and the Lord to establish his credibility. Paul sees the testimony of his success as a minister being revealed in the increased faith of those to whom he ministers. Are people growing in the Lord? Are they becoming more like Christ? In this comparison is true ministry revealed, not in the public relations campaign of the minister.
When an individual compares his or her numbers to someone else’s numbers, or buildings to buildings, or ministries to ministries, one of two things happens. Either that individual feels discouraged because his or her ministry is not a “successful’ as the minister to which he or she is compared, or else the individual will feel proud, because he or she is being more “successful” than the neighbor. Your ministry will be enlarged, and you will have even more opportunity, as you minister effectively to people. Do well where you are, and God will open doors of opportunity for your ministry. But, above all else, glory in the Lord and not yourself. Anything you do successfully for a church, a group, a ministry, is not yours to claim, but the Lord’s. He is the source of all blessings. He is the source of your ability and your strength. God is the source of life and redemption. Ministers are simply His messengers. Live as though what you do is not your ministry, but His. In this will God be glorified, and your arena enlarged. Don’t compare yourself to another minister, or even to yourself. Instead, compare your God to all other gods and know that He is the only true God. Show Him to the world, and not yourself. Then you will see His glory revealed and not your own.