It happens when I’m driving down the road and pass “that” church. It happens after a conversation with “that” minister’s wife. It happens after I hear stories of how “that” church is doing. A twinge of competition creeps in. We know life isn’t fair. But surely ministry is equitable since we are all doing it for Jesus, right? Shouldn’t we all experience high attendance, good offerings, exponential growth, building phases, church unity and successful ministries?
Of course we all know the answer to that is “no.” And we are okay with it as long as we are on the good side of the ministry deal. Peter. Bless his heart. He was “that” disciple. Jesus rescued him from drowning, called him “Satan” to his face, questioned his love three times and had to put someone’s ear back together because Peter acted in haste. The conversation Jesus had with him that revealed Peter would die didn’t set real well with him. Looking over his shoulder, Peter saw John following close behind. “What about that guy?” Peter questioned, “Is he going to die too?”
My children question what I tell them. Their reactions are directly related to equality. They’re okay as long as everyone is the same. The moment they discover a difference, the protest begins. “Why do I have to do that and she doesn’t? Why does he get to go there and I don’t? The protest comes out verbally, revealing the hidden jealousy in the heart.
There are churches we don’t care for. They are too traditional or too seeker-sensitive. They are too Sunday-schoolish or too small group driven. They are too Baptist, or they’ve taken Baptist off the church sign. They spend too much on buildings, or they are not legit because they meet in a school. I’ve tasted the twinge of competition. I’ve learned that behind that feeling is a God-sized revealing of some hidden motive of my heart.
Jealousy, resentment, bitterness toward “that” church, actually says more about what I think of God what He is doing in me and my church. It uncovers discontentment and a personal lack of trust in God. We may not verbalize these “twinges” to anyone but our husbands. (And maybe a few others in ministry we know will take “our side.”) Sadly the conversation is not one of repentance and “God bless ‘that’ church.” Instead, the conversation turns into a “slam-the-other-church fest.”
Peter only verbalized his concern to Jesus. Jesus’ response was “What is it to you? You follow me.” I find God in the shadows of my heart saying “You follow Me.”
Why is their church bigger? …“What is it to you? You follow me.”
Why do they get more recognition?…”What is it to you? You follow me.”
How come ministry is so tough for us and easy for them…“What is it to you? You follow me.”
Why did their church plant grow faster than ours?…“What is it to you? You follow me.”
God hasn’t called us to the same ministry or the same plan, but, we are on the same mission. Serving the same God. Preaching the same Gospel. We are on the same team. Go team!
Published April 6, 2017