“For you yourselves know, brethren, that our coming to you was not in vain. 2 But even after we had suffered before and were spitefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we were bold in our God to speak to you the gospel of God in much conflict. 3 For our exhortation did not come from error or uncleanness, nor was it in deceit.

4 But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts. 5 For neither at any time did we use flattering words, as you know, nor a cloak for covetousness—God is witness. 6 Nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, when we might have made demands as apostles of Christ. 7 But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children. 8 So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us. 9 For you remember, brethren, our labor and toil; for laboring night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, we preached to you the gospel of God.

10 You are witnesses, and God also, how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you who believe; 11 as you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children, 12 that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.” (1 These. 2: 1 – 10).

The apostles and early church elders were like gentle shepherds who care for their flock. They were humble servants of God, sound in doctrines, devoted to prayer and committed to teaching God’s people His pure word.

They not only fed and tended Gods sheep like a loving and caring shepherd, but they also cared for them like a father or mother Will care for their children.

With all the apostolic authority they had, they remained very humble men. They saw themselves as servants of God. They did not Lord over God’s people. They loved and respected their flock as the people of God.

Many today’s pastors, general overseers, Bishops lord over those in their ministry. They threaten, abuse, mistreat, manipulate and exercise power control over them.

The apostles and church elders lived simple lives. Many preachers today live lavishly, ostentatiously and in opulence. They brag about their wealth and accomplishments, claiming this to be stamps and endorsement of God’s approval of their life and ministry. They make the poor uncomfortable in the church because of their attitudes to money. They make it look as if being poor is a sin or a disease. While poverty is not a good, palatable, desirable or delightful thing, it is not a sin or a lack of faith on the part of the poor, or a sign of God’s disapproval of a person. The Bible teaches no such thing, instead Jesus teaches that we will always have the poor among us and that we are to be kind and generous towards them (Matt 26:11,Matt. 19:21, 1 Tim. 6:17-18). Christians and non- Christians can both be rich or poor.

The early apostles were never a burden to the people, and neither did they put financial pressure on them. But today preachers drive their flock, putting them under unnecessary financial and physical pressure in order to actualize the structure/ministry of their dreams. They heap program upon program on people to generate offerings/funds, popularise their ministries and keep the people tied to them and their churches.

The Biblical apostles lived devouted, just and blameless lives in the sight of all men. They were not men pleasers and they didn’t seek glory for themselves. They were honest, sincere and transparent men who never used any form of deceit and flattery. They did not distort the word of God for material gain.

The apostles were not abusive leaders they loved and tended the flock of God with humility, tenderness, care and the fear of God. They instilled church discipline when needed with truth on one hand and compassion and empathy on the other. They truly had the mind of Christ and walked in it.

Men gone before us who followed in the footsteps of the Master and early church fathers; men such as John Wesley, Spurgeon, George Muller, Whitfield, William Booth and others lived such simple lives, inspite of the large sums of money that passed through their hands. Those money they used to feed the poor, care for orphans, help the needy and spread the gospel. They did not use the money to enrich themselves, build palatial mansions for themselves and their families or fulfill a selfish ambition under the guise of ministerial work.

Dear Christian, search the Scriptures. The Bible tells us to mark these men who live contrary to Biblical pattern and avoid them. Many preachers today do not see and know that they are servants of Christ and His Church , they therefore lord over God’s people, giving them man made rules, doctrines, traditions and activities/ programs in order to keep people tied to them. These men operate the church like CEO’s and task Masters; putting financial pressure on the congregation in other to fulfill their dreams.

A true minister of God always remembers that he also is a sheep. He will never threaten, abuse, take advantage of and lord over his members, knowing that one day he is going to stand before the Great Shepherd, whose eyes are like fiery flames of fire to give an account for his stewardship.

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