In “ministering” to others, whose needs are being met? Theirs? Or yours?
How much of our efforts in “ministry” are veiled, or even subconscious attempts to meet our needs to be stroked or recognized? Could it be that often our primary concern with those under our charge is that they show up, conform, perform, and… well… basically make us look and feel good?
In the business world, “glitz,” bigness, “movement,” image, and pandering to people’s whimsical needs is standard operating procedure. Is it possible that in our push to “succeed” in our ministries, we have often transferred carnal and pride-driven methods and values from the “world” into the church? If that is the case:
- Our ministry has, sadly, become “market-driven.“
- “Feeling better has become more important to us than finding God.“
You will not find Jesus debasing His ministry to this level. Nor should we.
It is axiomatic that whenever a person is maturing toward full-stature in Christ (Ephesians 4:13), there is a death to self in the life of the discipler. Notice the cost to Jesus on our behalf:
“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.” (2 Corinthians 8:9)
Or Paul’s sacrifice:
“I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you… I die daily… and die to self… I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen… ” (Galatians 4:19; 1 Corinthians 15:31b [Amplified]; 2 Timothy 2:10a)
So here is the question you and I must ask ourselves: “What is our motivation with the sheep entrusted to our care: Their maturity, or the meeting of our needs?”
The degree of sacrifice which you and I are willing to expend on their behalf to bring them to spiritual maturity makes the answer to the question self-evident.
Few people will take notice of our sacrifice in ministering to others. But what difference should that make? Are we not committed first and foremost to His glory over ours?
“May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” (Galatians 6:14)