For Him Or Them?
FOR HIM OR THEM?
Matthew Berget, Youth Pastor
Cornerstone Church, Louisiana
As believers, there is nothing more fulfilling than ministry. And not just ministry but ministry we are truly called to. In the busyness of this life, it is easy to find ourselves in a place where we start serving the ministry of God rather than the God of the ministry. When we are in this place, we often begin depending on the attention and the praise of men rather than the pleasure of pleasing the Father.
Through my years in the ministry, I’ve found there are a couple telltale signs that indicate that I have started performing for men instead of for the Master. I have found myself frustrated and offended, judgmental without grace, and short-sighted, lacking vision. It is when I lose sight of the pleasure of pleasing the King that ministry becomes vigorous, unrewarding work that can easily and justifiably be replaced by needed family time or some good old R&R. In this state of being, we put ourselves and those we lead and serve at a disadvantage, separating ourselves from the incredible grace of God that comes along with an absolute dependence and reliance on Him. When our attention is on man, man becomes the standard by which we measure everything from our righteousness to our acceptance and value.
As we are submitted to men in the ministries we serve, we often have the opportunity to witness the faults and failures of those who lead us. If our hope and expectation is in people, our fulfillment in ministry will be just as fleeting and compromised as the humanity we are trusting in. We can follow our leaders as they follow Christ, just as Paul told his followers to do. However, we must be careful to keep our faith in the One who called us.
I believe that losing sight of the ultimate prize is the most damaging result of taking our eyes off Jesus. Just like we were Jesus’ prize, “the joy set before Him,” so Jesus and eternity with Him is our prize. Losing sight of our salvation results in losing our joy which results in losing our strength. This then is why the Psalmist cried out, “Restore unto me the joy of your salvation.” Salvation brings eternal joy, and eternal joy provides our strength. Nehemiah, chapter 8, tells us that it is the joy of the Lord that strengthens us. When we lose sight of who we are living for, we can miss out on the very life of God that makes this life worth living.
Often people who once burned for Him and now don’t want anything to do with His Church at all first came to a place where they took their focus off God and put it on man. Like Peter, it is when we take our eyes off Jesus that we start sinking and are subject to the natural laws and restraints of this life. Let us set our gaze on the joy set before us and renew our strength.