The frustration I have witnessed in the lives of many aspiring minister’s who attempt to achieve "greatness" in ministry because this is what we are "taught" to do, never ceases to amaze me.
In the beginning, when the Lord called me to ministry, all I thought I had to work with was what I saw happening in front of me. The silent deceit behind success draws men into the web and only when it has you in its grip, do we realize this is not God’s plan.
We have been taught if you have a big congregation, you have a successful ministry. If you have many miracles happening around you, you are considered a great man of God. We have seen that with the big ministry, comes the big house, the fancy car, the aero plane and all the trappings that we associate with the success of these who we consider successful.
I have seen men try and imitate others by trying to implement some of their methods in the hope that they too will be successful. People have traveled far and wide to achieve the same level of success as others have. They have bought the books, got the t-shirt and the bummer sticker, traveled around the world in the hope that something will rub off on them, only to have nothing to show for it.
The question that begs to be asked is simply, does mankind’s interpretation or understanding of success measure up with heavens? When I read the scriptures, I see a different pattern emerge than the one portrayed in the times we live in. Does this mean things have changed and that the Word of God is no longer relevant? I think not! We know that He is the same yesterday, today and forever (Heb 13:8), so if this be true, then it is modern man that has adopted a way of life, which has created a perception that has entrapped the lives of many.
In Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me”. Paul became dead to the Law, to the world, and to sin. (See Barnes’ notes on the Bible)”The Redeemer by the death of the cross became insensible to all surrounding objects, as the dead always are. He ceased to see, and hear, and was as though they were not. He was laid in the cold grave, and they did not affect or influence him. So Paul says that he became insensible to the Law as a means of justification; to the world; to ambition and the love of money; to the pride and pomp of life, and to the dominion of evil and hateful passions. They lost their power over him; they ceased to influence him”.
When we look at this passage, then there is no room for any doubt. I have heard it said, “A dead man has no ambition”. So, we cannot measure success in ministry by any other standard, but that which is set in God’s word. I am not against anything that has grown beyond my ability or my comprehension, in fact, if God is in it, then let all the glory be His and let no man lay claim to it! Thank God for the many who are saved and live their lives today for Him. Thank God for the many more that are coming to the knowledge of the Risen Christ and for the methods or vessels He chooses to use to promote His Kingdom, but let us not get so caught up in our humanity that we no longer see Christ.
My advice is simply this, we should stop trying to emulate man and live our life for Christ for this is worship in action. By living our lives in this way, we find we soon die to any ambition we had or any idea of grandeur for we will come to understand it remains all about Jesus and nothing more than that.
So you ask, what is the solution? What must I do? I found the answer lies in Christ and have come to the understanding, that when I live to please Him, everything else falls into place. Maybe God will use you for a particular task that will led to thousands being saved, or maybe it will merely be to reach out to the sinner nearest to you. Maybe others will not even notice you, however, when you realize that it is about Jesus, then the pressure falls off and we find we no longer have to produce or perform, but only worship Him and my friend, when you get to this place, you and I will understand the greatest ministry we have is our ministry (Worship) towards the Master, the One True Living God.