“Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.” Luke 6:22-23
I am not sure there is any ministry on the Internet with a Facebook page with fewer “likes” than mine. Nor with fewer fans or followers, or however that works. Nor on my personal page fewer “friends” who actually know me. Praise the Lord! Following Christ is not for those seeking to win a popularity contest. It’s for those who yearn to live with God forever and for Christ’s sake help others to do the same.
Gone are the days I wanted to be like everyone else in ministry, have a ministry like everyone else’s, be well known and loved, and sell a zillion books I write and have countless people read my tracts and devotionals. And follow the dictates, formulas, and agendas of America’s “successful” ministries and churches. And desire them as my role models. Oh, how close I was to being consumed – and destroyed – by this modern day conviction that just the right type and amount of marketing, promotion, and publicity would help me “succeed” in ministry. When I began in ministry and for the first few years, I pridefully, naively, wrongly, and dangerously turned to modern day Christianity in America and hungered and thirsted to be “successful” just like “everyone else” in ministry. My flesh craved love, acceptance, recognition, attention, praises, acknowledgement, validation, and people to gather around and with me to help and support me in ministry. Oh, what a fool I was! How deceived!
Little did I know how much of modern America conducts church and ministry with the world as its role model, by worldly standards and measures to obtain “success” the way the world sees “success”. Big numbers. Big buildings. Big budgets. Big money. Big fundraising. Big advertising, promotion, marketing. Big programs. Big stages. Big applause. Big technology. Big names. Big 5- & 10-yr. plans. Big boards. Big meetings. Big glamour. Big connections. Big glory. Big praise. For us. Mega, mega, mega! Big pigs we are, aren’t we? Seeking and lunging after, passionately pursuing worldly success and worldly ways to achieve it and then clutching onto people’s praises when the Lord will not share His glory and there we are heaping it up for ourselves when our highest desire should be to live for God and help build His Kingdom of Christ followers.
The Lord led me to repentance and is teaching me to lead my ministry led by His Spirit via His Word for His glory. May we not seek people’s praises but instead live to love, praise, honor, adore, and worship the Lord!