“But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice” Phil. 1:18
As a worship leader there is a constant battle between leading for God’s glory or my own. It’s something every worship leader, and definitely pretty much everyone else in some regard in part of their walk deals with. We today have this huge emphasis on how the heart behind something matters a lot more than the thing itself. That’s a lot of the time really good and really true. If on a stage I’m leading people in a worship song but I worry more about myself looking good at music, or cool, or more spiritual, I’m doing the opposite of worship. I’m, in a sense, trying to steal God’s glory for myself.
Paul here has a different view of things, honestly probably a view a lot more God oriented than my people oriented view. In terms of the gospel, Paul says motives don’t matter much, or really at all. What matters is the that the gospel is preached. This would’ve been super hard for Paul to say in the context he wrote it in, because we read in the previous verses the people preaching the gospel with ‘false motives’ were those trying to stir up frustration, divide the church. I’ve written this in pretty much every reflection, but the thing Paul seems to care most about in his letters is church unity. Paul is willing to throw away one of his biggest messages for the sake of the gospel being preached which is cool.
Good motives are a great thing to have, just read Micah 6 or a tonne of other passages all over the bible. What’s more important is that we serve God, because we’ll never have absolutely perfect motives. Leading worship where I try and make it about myself still leads people in worship, and to think that God can’t work through the worst of motives essentially belittles His power. So I guess the takeaway for me at least from this verse is to stop asking why someone is doing something, or if I agree on how it’s being done and simply ask ‘Is this ministry? Are people coming to Christ and is the gospel being preached?’ because at the end of the day, that’s what matters.