2 Corinthians 9:2
“For I know the forwardness of your mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal hath provoked very many.”
One of the most exciting things that has happened in my ministry since I became a pastor is to see how God’s working in my ministry is influencing so many. The LORD has been good to our church in allowing us to see people saved and baptized on a weekly basis, and this working of God has influenced many people outside of our church. However, before people outside of our church were influenced and challenged to do more, the people in my church had to be influenced by their pastor.
The verse above gives the reason that many people are influenced to do more for God. Paul said, “…and your zeal hath provoked very many.” You will notice that it didn’t just provoke some or a few, but it provoked many. Three keywords led to many being influenced.
The first keyword is “zeal.” There are several things that cause a person to have zeal. First, your heart must be into what you are doing if you are going to have zeal. Nobody wants to follow someone whose heart is not into what they are doing. My friend, your heart is into something, and the best place you can put your heart is into the work of the LORD. If you don’t put your heart in the LORD’s work, you will never influence others for right.
Enthusiasm is critical to having zeal. Enthusiasm is infectious. You would be surprised how people would want to serve the LORD if you would be enthusiastic about the LORD’s work.
Likewise, perseverance will also be an ingredient of the person who has zeal. Zeal has a way of causing people to push through hard times. Zeal has a way of causing people to push through weariness, battles, trials and persecution. Quitting will be your option instead of perseverance if you are not zealous about the LORD’s work.
Zeal also creates an urgency in the heart of the believer. Zeal is a direct result of you realizing the urgency to get the Gospel to the lost before they slip out into eternity. If you have no urgency about what you are doing, you will have no zeal that will cause people to look up to see what you are doing.
Finally, zeal creates devotion. A zealous believer is a devoted believer. You must be devoted to what you are doing because there are many things that will try to sidetrack you from what your purpose of life is all about. A zealous person will always be devoted to their cause.
The second keyword in this verse is “provoked.” Being provoked means to motivate, arouse, kindle, challenge, rally or excite. In other words, a believer who has a zeal for God will challenge others to do something for God. A person with a zeal for God will kindle a fire in the hearts of others to do something for God. You will never arouse an interest in the heart of others for the LORD’s work if you are not zealous about it. The key to rallying people to what you are doing is to be zealous about the LORD’s work.
The third key phrase is “very many.” The reason you need to be zealous is so that you can influence “very many” to get involved in the LORD’s work. The cause is urgent because of eternity. Let me challenge you to be zealous and passionate about the LORD’s work so that you can provoke “very many” to get involved so we can reach more people for Christ.