In my last post, I began a series of entries that I commented on from a book called, “Liberating Ministry From The Success Syndrome.” I received this book early on in my ministry and it has profoundly impacted my view of what real success is in the life of a ministry, and in fact, the life of every church and believer. Without rehashing all of that I want to jump right into the next couple of subjects that define real success for us as believers.
Success Is Serving: The point that is made by Hughes is that real service doesn’t require that someone recognize you. He illustrates this point by stating: “The conductor of a great symphony orchestra was once asked which was the most difficult instrument to play. ‘The second violin’ he answered. ‘I can get plenty of first violinists, but to find someone who can play second violin with enthusiasm----that is a problem. And if we have no second violin, we have no harmony’” Too many times in church no one wants to play second violin. There is no picture of service like Christ displayed at the Last Supper except that which He displayed at the cross. He died for us and it added nothing to Him, it didn’t complete Him, He was already perfect. So often we come to church looking for our needs to get met, upset if someone hasn’t ministered effectively to us, or has not appreciated us properly. If I were to combine the first two points from this book I would find that biblical success is when I am faithful in everything - including my service! Not only is success serving, we must understand that…
Success Is Loving: This is something that should be ever growing. The tragedy about our love for God is that is can be so veiled. It IS possible to preach, to sing, to be a pastor, teacher, writer – and yet, still NOT love God. But Hughes points out if we really love, we are successful. He mentions four things love does in us, I will highlight only three because of space: (a) It places our ministries beyond the judgments of man. We don’t operate according to man’s standards, nor for man’s approvals…one can not put a statistic on our love for God. If I love Christ, I will love His bride! (b) It liberates us from the destructive tendency to compare ourselves with others. As I realize that I am called to live for Christ, and He has equipped me to accomplish the purpose of bringing glory to Him. I will not try to be someone I am not, I will not compare myself and find someone I believe I am “better than” to build my ego up - nor will I find someone better than me to strive to become. My desire will be to love Christ above all else and serve Him using the gifts He has given me, for His glory. (c) It frees the whole church up, because loving God is something all of us can do. This success is not just for a select group, every believer has equal opportunity to do this. The reason I don’t love Jesus more than I do is because I don’t want to. That hurts, huh? You have heard me say this in sermons before – but what do I mean by it? Just what it says! I choose how I spend my time, what I read, what I study, who I talk about and what activities I partake in….if I truly want to love God more, I will spend more time deepening that relationship. If we really took this relationship seriously, wouldn’t we make more of an effort to grow in it continuously rather than becoming complacent and comfortable? My love can grow deeper, or it can grow cold, it depends on His grace but it depends on my desire! I can enhance this by a devotion to His Word and His people.
May we at Trinity grow in our Faithfulness, Service and Love! Then we will be a successful church! More to come….