Speaking Ability ≠ Effective Ministry

1 Corinthians 1: 1-5 When I came to you, brothers, announcing the testimony of God to you, I did not come with brilliance of speech or wisdom.  For I didn’t think it was a good idea to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.  I came to you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. My speech and my proclamation were not with persuasive words of wisdom but with a powerful demonstration by the Spirit, so that your faith might not be based on men’s wisdom but on God’s power.”

What is that “powerful demonstration by the Spirit” that Paul is talking about?  I don’t believe it was magical miracles.  I believe that the power He is talking about is the power of God to change one’s life and cause them to abandon everything and follow Jesus.

It doesn’t take a lot of charisma to declare the truth of Jesus’ love for people.  In fact, charisma can detract from the message and put the focus on the individual rather than on the intended object–JESUS.  I believe that a person who has fully submitted their life to God and is living moment by moment reliant on the Spirit of God, is prepared to declare God’s testimony to the audience He has prepared.  It is from a person’s faith that the Spirit of God works and where His power is seen; it is NOT from our good speaking ability.  Our ability to speak well in front of others does not point straight back to Jesus.  If we are able to speak well and our words and tone are impressive, then so be it.  However, that ability has nothing to do with the effectiveness of one’s ministry.  Great speakers lead people astray every day–it is the content and the behavior of the speaker that should be examined.  Every time I have seen a great public speaker there is one thing I feel: ENVY.  I want to be able to talk as good as they do, but almost always it is so that other people will think highly of me.  Does this mean that being a good speaker is bad? No.  But it is just a fact.  It is not a prerequisite for speaking God’s truth and the one who speaks well should be careful that their human abilities are not elevated above any spiritual gift.

I submit to you that the humblest person you know who is relying on Jesus for their full sustenance is more prepared to deliver the gospel than the one who speaks like Billy Graham but whose life is their own and not submitted to Jesus. The reason is simply this:  when people see what only the Spirit of God can do to a person they are captivated by that individual’s demonstration of power–the power that comes from God to enable a person to forget their life and lean on Him for everything.

Leave a Reply