Summer 2024

THE INCREASE: Jerry Birch - What’s He Worth?

“This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” — 1 Timothy 2:3-4

The real question is not what are you willing to suffer for, but for whom?

When it comes to suffering for the Kingdom of God, it begins and ends with how we endure suffering in our relationships. God’s greatest desire is expressed in today’s verse, 1 Timothy 2:3-4.

Let’s face it: People can be annoying and challenging, friends and enemies alike. But God has called and equipped us to suffer the foolishness of others for the sake of building His Kingdom one soul at a time. Ministry is all about serving God by serving people in His name. That’s why there is so much instruction on dealing with people, so that we draw them to God and not push them away by our own selfish behavior.

The Lord has given us His Holy Spirit as well as spiritual gifts for two primary reasons: to evangelize the lost and to edify (strengthen) the saints. Both endeavors require immense sacrifice and suffering.

It’s critical that we listen to the Holy Spirit and not our own cynicism, as He uses us in our relationships for God’s glory. As we obey, His life pours out of us in ways that point others to the grace of God.

Jesus radically taught in Matthew 5:44 to “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Christ is more concerned about the salvation of your enemies’ souls than even your own personal offense and their threat against you. Their redemption was at the core of His suffering.

Jerry Birch, Cleveland Cavaliers chaplain

The Increase, part of the Sports Spectrum Network, is a community of Christian pro athletes sharing their personal stories of the decrease of self and the increase of Christ (John 3:30). Visit for more stories and videos.