“The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains.” – Philippians 1:17
I am a scientist by nature. Hypothesizing and experimentation are one of my favorite past times. After 5 years of marriage I know exactly what to do to make my wife mad. This is referred to as “pushing buttons.” This process didn’t take long at all to perfect. First, I experienced my wife in an irritable state. Then, I created a hypothesis about what I did to aggravate her. Finally, 10 minutes later, I experimented by repeating the situation previous to her state of frustration. Voila! Just like when you add vinegar and baking soda together, you get a volcano.
We all know what to do to our friends, kids, or significant others to push their buttons. All we have to do is recreate the situation we experienced before and it works every time. Paul’s followers that were located where he was imprisoned practiced this same routine. They saw what happened to Paul when he preached the gospel. They figured that they would get more attention because they knew how to push the authorities’ buttons; preaching about the gospel.
We here at Grace are like a family. We go shopping, we pay bills, we have a fridge. We even have kids that leave home, but come back every once in a while just to check up (Superintendents). Therefore, we know the people around us to the point that we know what buttons to push to get a certain result. Maybe not a desired result, but a result all the same. I say it’s each of our responsibilities to know what it is about each other that will make us frustrated and strive to not do those things. We are team, whether we want to be or not. Teams need to work towards a common goal and as I’ve stated in earlier emails our goal is to work towards the glory and praise of God and build His kingdom (and a couple houses along the way). It’s up to us to determine how efficient and effective we want to be. My theory is, the more we work together, the easier the work will be.
Obviously, pushing buttons is never done out of love. Love is the epitome of selflessness. When we act out of selfish ambition, we are determined to be selfish. Paul’s preaching of the gospel, I believe, was the result of laying down his life everyday. I often wonder why he was imprisoned so much and thus not being effective by preaching the gospel to mass crowds. God had different plans; specifically to preach the gospel to centurions and political figures. Reminds me of when Jesus crossed an entire lake to save one man. (Mark 5:1-20)