I’ve started this post several times now, but it never seems to come out just right. I decided that today I would write it and whatever comes is good enough.
Success in ministry is often judged by numbers. We judge a church by its butts, budgets, and baptisms. We ask for the bottom line to determine whether we’re honoring God. While growth and large numbers are impressive, I wonder whether it’s the best way to measure success in the Church. Is God impressed with big numbers?
This question is all the more important in my life, since I’ve felt like I could be doing so much more. I have experience and education, but it hasn’t translated into anything impressive. I often wonder whether all I will ever have is potential that never comes to fruition. How do I know when I’ve been successful in God’s kingdom?
“Let not the wise boast of their wisdom
or the strong boast of their strength
or the rich boast of their riches,
but let the one who boasts boast about this:
that they have the understanding to know me,
that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness,
justice and righteousness on earth,
for in these I delight,”
declares the LORD.
I read that passage a year or so ago and was moved to memorize it. I don’t often memorize verses word-for-word, but that just sang to me. “Don’t boast in being smart or successful or strong. Boast in knowing God.”
I believe the true measure of success in ministry is in faithful obedience to God. We are successful when we know and follow God. Perhaps it won’t mean outward success or fame or fortune. Scratch that, it probably won’t mean those things. But obedience to God means a life free from striving for bigger, better, more. We will be entrusted with much if we are faithful, but it won’t be striving, chasing after what the world is chasing after.
I continue to pray that God will use me as he desires and that I will serve him faithfully with the opportunities I am given.
I also continue to pray for ruthless trust as I wait for him to bring me into the place he is preparing for me. God, free me from striving.