We live in a world full of sales pitches. Article headlines are designed as click-bait, promising radical stories that they seldom deliver. Fishing email scams seek out our personal information. Phone calls from companies pretend to know who we are and offer us prizes if we will just press 1 to be connected to an operator.
I get very tired of the scams. I get tired of the tricks. I get tired of the false promises of salesmen who promise the moon but who have nothing special to give.
But what I tire of most is the use of sales pitches and gimmicks when it comes to the Christian faith. There are certainly some out there who use the tricks of the sales and marketing industry on the one hand or even the tricks of the email scammers on the other to try to bait and switch people into the kingdom of God. But these are not ways to honor the Lord.
Don’t get me wrong. I certainly want to see people saved. But I am unwilling to use underhanded methods to trick people into the kingdom. I want to see people come to Christ, but there is no call for becoming anything less than honest with people.
Paul saw this too.
2 Corinthians 4:1-3 – 1 Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. 2 But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.
Paul used no cunning, no tampering with the word of God. He did not design his ministry around the latest marketing research. Nor did he try to disguise the church as something else. Instead, his ministry was devoted to a straight forward declaration of the truth of the word of God. Paul ministered by honest proclamation.
I pray that my ministry will be the same as Paul’s, even if that means we never serve in a mega-church. I desire to be faithful and honest. I deeply desire that, at the end of my life on earth, people who knew me would say that I handled the word of God honestly and faithfully. I want to see people saved. I want to see Christians grow. But I do not have any desire to use tricks, gimmicks, or sales pitches to make that happen. The Lord is honored most, I believe, when his word and his Holy Spirit do the work.
Later in the same chapter, Paul will say that we hold the treasure of the gospel ministry in jars of clay. None of us who are faithful to the word are any more than clay pots with the word of God inside. That is the ministry that honors the Lord. That is the ministry I desire to see grow. I’m OK with being ordinary. But I want to be ordinary and faithful to the word.