How many of us look forward to hearing people tell us that we are doing a great job? This is as much an issue for pastors and those involved in ministry as it is for anyone else.
I remember early on, a member of our choir asked me why they should bother singing when the snow had kept pretty much everyone home? It would be easy to single this person out, but I struggle with this too.
Have I made a difference?
There have been times when I have wondered if my ministry has made a difference because I hadn’t heard anyone share that they felt I had done a good job, or given a good message.
But it goes much further than this in the church. I remember hearing a local pastor in our bank (he didn’t know I was there) share that his church was the only one that was doing anything in the city. I have sat in services while vacationing where I have heard the person leading music during the service promote and encourage people to buy their music… during the service!
So this begs the question…
How often do we allow people to praise us, and take the glory that belongs to God?
Psalm 115 reminds us that God’s glory is His alone.
“Not to us, Lord, not to us, but to your name be the glory because of your love and faithfulness..”Psa. 115:1 NIV
Charles Spurgeon shares a story from Paul Bunyan (of “Pilgrim’s Progress”) where after church a person tells him that he did a wonderful job. This is Bunyan’s response:
“Ay, you need not remind me of that; for the devil told me of that before I was out of the pulpit.”Offor’s “Introduction to Works of Bunyan”, Vol. III, p. lxx.
KB, a modern rapper, sells merchandise with the title HGA… His Glory Alone. Shouldn’t that be our motto? In an era of celebrity pastors and leaders in the church, we need to be more focused on giving God all of the glory!
Shouldn’t that be our motto?
And isn’t self glory the problem churches face as they seek to become more diverse? There is a desire to see more people reached, but only as long as I don’t lose my spot of prominence. How can we encourage diversity if our leadership isn’t diverse, or if we just have token diversity? Token diversity is when diversity is only visual but doesn’t allow for change except when approved by the majority.
What ever happened to Jesus’ call to servant leadership?
“Jesus called them together and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’”Matthew 20:25-28 NIV
To be the greatest, Christ calls us to be the least.
Lord, we are a proud people, yet You make it clear in Your word that our pride should be in You alone. May all of our actions, individual, family, work, and church, show of Your greatness as we surrender to You in all things. And may we seek Your glory alone until that day when we stand in Your glory. In Jesus’ Name…