How often have you looked at another in ministry, or just another’s Christian life, and wished you had what they have? It’s a pretty natural and human thing to do, isn’t it?
Man, I wish I had the opportunities they have, the platform to proclaim the truth that they have…
I wish I had my life together, like they appear to have…
The problem with this kind of thinking is that we are trying to be someone other than who God has made you to be (Genesis 1.27, Jeremiah 1.5a).
In Acts 19.11-12 we see God working spectacularly and miraculously through Paul to establish him as true and trustworthy, and so establish that the truths he spoke were irrefutable (v.17, 20, cf. 1 Corinthians 2.2). Others saw this (v.13) and tried to copy. In one failed exorcism the copiers are told
“I know about Jesus and I am acquainted with Paul, but who are you?”
(Acts 19.15, NET)
Trying to copy and replicate the ministry of others will often leave us falling short of all that God wants for us, and inevitably leave us feeling unrecognised and unappreciated (…who are you?).
The point of this passage is not to be prescriptive, but descriptive. We are not all called and ordained to initiate miraculous healing by simply touching others. We are all called and ordained to contribute to the big picture purpose that we see in v.17 and 20:
“…the name of the Lord Jesus was praised…In this way the word of the Lord continued to grow in power and to prevail.”
Resist the temptation to copy the ministry of others and stay true to where and how God has called you (1 Corinthians 7.17).