“Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you? 2 You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. 3 You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.  4 Such confidence we have through Christ before God. 5 Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. 6 He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”  (2Corinthians 3:1—6)


            For all of us who are involved in ministry, the question is, How do you measure effectiveness and success in ministry? Many measure success in ministry by reputations, by how many places they have ministered in, by how many people fill their pews, or by other means. Sometimes, people try to find out how an individual is qualified to be in ministry, such as being a pastor or a ministry leader. 

            What are the qualifying measures that allow someone to minister in a congregation?  Paul asked if we had to commend or praise ourselves for our qualifications.  Or do we need some letters of recommendation to prove their qualifications, either for the Corinth believers or a letter from them about who they are?  

            I love Paul’s response to the Corinthian believers, in which he pointed out that they are themselves the proof and fruits of their labors.  My takeaway today is that the best resume and qualification to be a minister pins on the fact that people’s lives have changed.  Paul reminded the Corinthian believers who they are:

  • YOU, YOURSELF, are our letter.  We don’t need any proof from anyone else.  You are in our hearts, known and read by everyone.  Paul and the Corinthians have an amazing and special relationship.
  • YOU are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stones, but on tablets of human hearts.

Another powerful truth for me today is who we are as those who serve God’s people.  Paul credited his ministry because he was COMPETENT and knew it all, but because God made him and his fellow ministers competent.  Our competency as ministers or servants of God is because of how talented we are or how well we articulate how we say things.  It doesn’t come because we have the best education behind us.  Our competency must come because of our reliance on God, who made us competent as ministers of his covenant through the Spirit who gives life. 

God made us competent, meaning he enlarged our capability, ability, skills, talent, aptitude, and all that is necessary for us to complete what he called us to do. When God makes all of us competent, then and only then will we be able to see fruits and produce the kinds of results that point to His Spirit’s work in us. God is the one who will enable us to do the necessary work and bear fruits that last. 


            Today, I am reminded of the importance of knowing that the lives that change in ministry are because the Spirit of God is working and changing people. I am reminded that the results and outcomes of ministry happen not because I am a talented and competent person but because of the Spirit of God, who made me competent and able to do his bidding.  All fruits in ministry came because of the work of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of people. 


            Holy Spirit, I am grateful for the reminder today.  Thank you for reminding me of the importance of your power in writing truth in the hearts of people.  I pray that you continue to make me competent in the work that you call me to do.  I ask that you continue to anoint me and fill me afresh daily with your power to do the things that I must do so the Father’s name be honored.  I need you daily in my life.  Please speak to me and guide me always.  Amen!