Success! The desire for success is hard-wired into our DNA by God. It can be traced all the way back to the beginning. “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” Genesis 2:15. Adam no doubt took great delight in seeing the investment of his work producing a God-given satisfaction and pride. After the fall Adam’s work took on a different perspective and everything changed, now he would have to deal with painful toil, thorns and thistles, nothing would come easy. “By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food.”
Generations removed from Adam, success has morphed itself over and over. So much of success in ministry is measured strictly on numbers. Much of our private time in ministry is spent comparing ourselves to the mega-church or the church down the street that is larger than “our” church.
The truth of the matter is it is not “our” church, but it is “His” church. And the truth of the matter is the vast majority of churches in America are 150 in attendance or less. Another truth, we would be far better off to stop comparing ourselves to others and wishing we were someplace else and implement God’s measure of success. Remember the parable of the talents, “His master replied, ‘Well done good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness.’” Matthew 25:21 (NIV).
Success is not found in another location, or bigger and better.
Success is found in being faithful where you are, faithfully participating in building God’s Kingdom according to His directives. Stop looking at others and comparing yourself; that is not success. Success is being the faithful servant God called you to be. God is keeping the records. “Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.” I Corinthians 4:2
Faithfulness = success. Stop wasting God’s resources seeking other avenues of success. Faithfulness results in God-given satisfaction, while success sought other ways has the potential of being corrupted with pride, and we all know “pride comes before a fall.
I wholeheartedly agree. Thirty years of ministry in churches ranging from the thousands to a few dozen has taught me that faithfulness to the calling and the return is the greatest satisfaction one can have! As long as I go to bed at night having arrived to do the best I can for a Savior who gave the best that he had, I rest soundly! Striving for truth, and not the numbers is far more gratifying!