In I Timothy 2:15 we read, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth.” When God views our “work” – our lifestyle, our choices, and our actions – will we be approved or ashamed?
I can’t help but view this verse through my own vocational experience. A significant part of my job as a geophysicist involves presenting my ideas to management. When my work has been thorough and thoughtful and complete, my work (and to some degree myself) have been “approved”. But I have also felt the “ashamed” of a thrown-together, poorly-thought-out presentation. If our earthly bosses can engender these feelings of accomplishment or shame, how much more important is it that our work is approved by God?
The point of the parable of the talents in Matthew chapter 25 is that the servant who is approved by being “faithful in the small things, will be put in charge of many things” (Mt 25:21); will be given greater responsibility. If you want to see your ministry move in a certain direction, focus less on increasing your influence and more on being faithful to serve your family, practice honesty in your business dealings, seek the good of others, and the larger influence will come in God’s timing.
The apostle Paul was entrusted with the greatest responsibility possible – sharing the Gospel message – because he was approved by God. “Just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who examines our hearts” (I Thess 2:4).
God’s approval is something we should seek after and it should motivate us to righteous living. To the loyal servant He says. “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Mt 25:21).