It is said that the crest of Philip Melanthon, the German Reformer, was an image of a lighted candle with the words “In ministering to others I sacrifice myself.” The incident of the jealous preachers in Rome did not interrupt Paul’s joy in the gospel. Paul’s personal feelings, self-preservation, and pride did not interfere with work of the church or the preaching of the gospel. In Romans 11:13 Paul defended the office of the apostleship, but he never defended his own person, feelings, or emotions. He displayed in chapter one what he later desired of the Philippians—a Christ-like humility and an absolute abandonment to self for the sake of others and the growth of the church (2:7).
As a steward of the grace of God, my life—my comfort, time, gifts, pleasures, etc.—is the fuel that gives light to a darkened world. In ministering to others I must consume self and selfishness. What a profound lesson and what a manifesto for the Christian! Like a candle, we are no real help to others if we don’t sacrifice ourselves, and it is not Christ-like love if it does not sacrifice.
Reading: “Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel. What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.—Philippians 1:15-18