The Trust

“On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts” (1 Thessalonians 2:4).

As I reflect on the text of 1 Thessalonians this morning, a simple phrase jumps off the page at me – “entrusted with the gospel.”

No doubt Paul is writing as an apostle in this passage. But the application, as I read this text, is meant to be broader than an apostolic trust (see also a broader use in 2 Timothy 2:2). Paul is writing about ministry. He is writing about his ministry team with Silas and Timothy – “we.” Paul, Silas, and Timothy were entrusted with the gospel. God gave them the message in a trust.

This ministry team was assigned stewardship of the trust, like a homeowner would entrust his household property to a steward. They serve as trustees, guardians, keepers, or custodians.

Paul frequently uses the language of stewardship/trust to describe both the privilege and responsibility of his ministry.

  • “On the contrary, they saw that I had been entrusted with the task of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, just as Peter had been to the Jews” (Galatians 2:7).
  • “. . . that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me” (1 Timothy 1:11).
  • “. . . and at his appointed season he brought his word to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our Savior” (Titus 1:3).
  • “So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God. Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful” (1 Corinthians 4:1-2).
  • “If I preach voluntarily, I have a reward; if not voluntarily, I am simply discharging the trust committed to me” (1 Corinthians 9:17).
  • “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others” (2 Timothy 2:2).

This trust concept profoundly impacts me as a preaching minister. God tests hearts. God entrusts with the gospel. And so it follows that I answer to God. When I speak, I must speak as a man of God. My ministry must be God-centered.

God’s approval must be my driving purpose. Viewing my ministry as a sacred trust of the gospel colors my entire outlook and determines my day to day activities.

God help those who preach and teach be faithful to the trust.

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