A missionary friend recently described to me what he defines as three levels of Christian thinking. The first is what he explains as Level 1: Meet my needs. He stated that in the vast majority of churches in America the typical message is how the Gospel will meet your needs. Your need for salvation, food, clothing, comfort, healing, etc.

Level 2: Use my gifts. He explained that in the vast majority of minister’s conferences in America we will hear teaching around how to maximize ones gifts and calling. We will hear teaching on how to build a bigger budget, a bigger board, a bigger ministry and a bigger church. In essence an answer to the question, How can I be all that I was created to be?

Level 3: Build the Kingdom. Level 3 thinking, he described as Kingdom thinking. Basically answering this question: “What is it going to take to fully evangelize the ______________ people group?” In other words, there is no cost too great, no sacrifice beyond measure, no limit to what we may be willing to give or do to reach a particular people.

You see if our goal as ministers is to build our big ministry (even for the hope of reaching many) then we are unable to die for a few or even one. If I must grow a ministry then I must be here to grow it.

If, however, my purpose is to reach a people group with the Gospel of Jesus Christ then I am able to set aside theological differences, denominational boundaries, racial divides, economic barriers, and worship practices. I am able to reach across a country border, a church pew and a diner table to give to someone else. I am even able to lay down my life if that is what is required.

The Apostle Paul describe several individuals who were preaching the Gospel out of selfish motives. These folks were interested in making a name for themselves. Their intentions were to move Paul out of the way and take his place and credibility.

Paul’s response to this situation is amazing to me. Instead of finding ways to bolster his name or undercut his “opponents,” he simply rejoices in the Gospel being preached.

It’s true that some here preach Christ because with me out of the way, they think they’ll step right into the spotlight. But the others do it with the best heart in the world. One group is motivated by pure love, knowing that I am here defending the Message, wanting to help. The others, now that I’m out of the picture, are merely greedy, hoping to get something out of it for themselves. Their motives are bad. They see me as their competition, and so the worse it goes for me, the better-they think-for them. So how am I to respond? I’ve decided that I really don’t care about their motives, whether mixed, bad, or indifferent. Every time one of them opens his mouth, Christ is proclaimed, so I just cheer them on! (Philippians 1:15-18 MSG)

I pray that my heart be turned from my kingdom to the building of His so that not even those with whom I may disagree can keep from rejoicing in the Gospel.