When Working for God Becomes the Goal

Reposted from Rooted Thinking.

Even though I had my struggles as a teen, God had my heart. I wanted to serve Him. When I heard appeals from pastors or missionaries about being willing to give ourselves fully to Christ in full-time Christian service, my heart sang, “Let me!”

I remember one sermon where there was an appeal to young people. We were urged to have a heart that desired “to be somebody for God.” That spoke to me; I greatly desired to make a difference for eternity. God used appeals like this to move me on to Bible college to prepare to become a pastor, which later meant cross-cultural missions. I wanted to preach the Gospel and lead people to Christ, especially where He was little known. I wanted to do something hard for God. God gave that opportunity.

Could my motives have been colored by a desire to make my life important?

Striving for Significance

I grew up a with an old-school middle-class American Protestant work ethic. There are wonderful benefits to this work ethic on which I was raised, but there are some serious potential downsides as well.

For example, I am a self-motivated “go-getter” (type A personality) who is sorely tempted to find my worth and significance in what I can accomplish. If I don’t meet my expectations for myself, I am easily discouraged. Frustration over unmet personal goals or achievements constantly threatens me, though I am growing in grace. My struggle is a very common one, especially for others with a similar background to mine.

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When Your Church Disappoints

Reposted with permission from The Cripplegate.

by Eric Davis

Let’s face it. Church is not always as exciting as we would like. Sometimes it’s boring and disappointing. It’s possible that there are good reasons for that. But it’s possible that there are not.

Being bored is not the worst thing that can happen to us in our churches. In fact, it may be the best thing since it can present opportunity for personal change. Though not always, our personal boredom can often be symptomatic of a needed soul adjustment.

Consider a few shifts before submitting to disappointment’s demands:

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Regaining the Joy of Ministry, Part 4

From Voice magazine, May/June 2016. Used by permission. Read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

We Rejoice in the Proclamation of the Truth

We must ask ourselves this critical question: “What brings us the most pleasure?” As we have already pointed out, most often we answer the question based upon personal affirmation and ministry success. Those events and accomplishments that serve to affirm our value and worth bring us joy. We experience greater personal satisfaction when people appreciate our efforts and our activities accomplish significant results. Let’s be honest, Monday morning is always brighter if our attendance was up on Sunday and people were complimentary. While these are nice, the problem is that these things are not always present. However, when we look at the early apostles, the basis for their joy differed radically from ours. We find our joy in what we accomplish in ministry; they found their joy in the ministry itself. We find our joy in the results of service; they found their joy in the act of service. The difference is enormous.

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Regaining the Joy of Ministry, Part 3

From Voice magazine, May/June 2016. Used by permission. Read Part 1, and Part 2.

We Rejoice Because of the Growth of Others

Imagine standing before a newly planted tree. For the first several years, we see rapid growth; but after a number of years, the tree seems to stop growing. In the first few years, we could measure the height of tree and measure the growth by feet. But as the years go by, the rapid upward growth slows and even seems to stop. Year after year we look at the tree and see little, if any, growth. However, reality often differs from perception. What we perceive to be the periods of little growth is actually when the tree grows the most. The greatest growth in the volume of board feet comes when the tree becomes so large it no longer appears to be growing.

So it is with the spiritual growth of people. When a person first experiences the redemption of Christ, the transformation is both dramatic and highly visible. But as time goes on, it seems as though people become stagnant with little growth occurring. However, what we fail to realize is that God is still at work within the individual.

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