According to the New Oxford American Dictionary, the preposition “for” has two nuances in its meaning:
for |fôr; fər| |fɔ(ə)r| |fər| |fɔː| |fə|
- on behalf of or to the benefit of (someone or something), e.g. I work for my boss.
- having (the thing mentioned) as a reason or cause, e.g. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son…
In Darrell Johnson‘s 19 theses of his theology of ministry, his very first conviction states: “The ‘call to ministry’ is the call to minister WITH the Living God, not a call to minister FOR the Living God. The ‘call to ministry’ is the call to join the Living God in God’s ministry in and for the world. It is the call to enter into and participate in the saving work of the Creator, a work initiated, empowered and completed by God.”
Speaking of John Wesley’s conversion, Rupert Davies said:
In all his earlier disciplined life of holiness, and the good works to which he set his hand, his primary concern was on what he could do for God. But after the Aldersgate Street heart-warming, he asked only what God could do for him and through him.
Davies, Rupert, A History of the Methodist Church in Great Britain Vol. I, (Epworth, 1988), p. 51.
So focusing on and being obsessed with only what we could do for God is not only unfounded, it is actually a mentality of the unevangelized, a person not yet transformed by the gospel.
Where do you put yourself? Do you put yourself before the phrase “for God” or after “for God”? That’s the ultimate test of your understanding of the gospel.