Tuesday, February 05, 2008
As I begin to prepare for the Lenten season, one of the devotionals I am using is a book called "Reflecting the Glory" by N.T. Wright.
I was struck especially by one devotion on 2 Corinthians 4. Much of the devotion was about how Paul measured success.
There are all sorts of ways that people choose to measure success in ministry. Some measure success by numbers. They feel that the more people that attend their events and services, the more successful that person is in ministry. Others measure their value by their skills, or how innovative or cutting edge their program is. Still other pastors measure their success by the financial health of their flock.
Paul is tempted to boast about many things in 2 Corinthians 4. Yet, he does not. Instead he challenges people to look at his faithfulness. His faithfulness in loving people. His faithfulness in serving God through the hard times. His faithfulness in being a servant. He puts both the responsibility for growth and the credit for changed lives in God's hands.
So often, it is easy to think as a minister that our job is about pleasing people. It is not. It is about pleasing God and loving people in God's name. It is up to God to use our gifts of faithfulness as he wishes.