2Co 10:11-13 “Let such an one think this, that, such as we are in word by letters when we are absent, such will we be also in deed when we are present. For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. But we will not boast of things without our measure, but according to the measure of the rule which God hath distributed to us, a measure to reach even unto you.”
Paul had a very clear message for those who thought his letters were eloquent but his speech was lacking in power. He assured his audience that he was ready to back up the words of his letters with action. Regardless of how they might think of him, he was ready to do what the Lord had called him to do. This was not an empty boast based on the notions of men.
Paul had no intention of coming to them in his own strength. He pointed out to them that his approach was for a specific reason. It was never his intention to come to them by his own commendation. He had no desire to tell them about all his exploits and personal accomplishments.
Paul was not going to boast in himself. Neither was he going to try and persuade brethren of his power and purpose by comparing himself to others. It is a part of our human nature to try and compare ourselves with others, especially if we are seeking self-justification. Men spend billions of dollars every year to tell you why they are more deserving of your confidence than other men (whether in politics, sports, or merchandising of products).
Notice that Paul did not say this self-glorification was not, at times, effective. What he did say was that it was not wise. Sooner or later, our aggrandizement will be proven to be empty of real power or authority. It soon becomes evident that leaning on our own supposed abilities will result in exposing our inabilities.
Paul had no intention of boasting about things that could not be evaluated. He did not intend to boast of things that he had not right to claim and could not prove. Instead, Paul was exhorting them that he would only lay claim to the standard that God had set for him. A portion of what God had set for Paul was to reach the church at Corinth with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
As the servants of God, it is unwise for us to compare ourselves among ourselves. We greatly err in determining the effectiveness of ministry by such things as how many we have baptized, how much money we have given to the needy, or how extensively we have traveled in serving His children. Instead, we need to be clearly focused on going where He sends us, saying what He tells us, doing as He bids us, and giving Him all the glory before His people.
May our Lord Jesus Christ be our only measure in our service to God and His people!