Consciously or subconsciously, pastors and other ministry leaders often fall into the trap of trying to define ourselves through accomplishments. Even if we don’t express it outwardly, our hearts can easily begin to focus on unimportant measures such as numbers, attention, or even financial abundance.
These thoughts by Pastor Steven Furtick reminded me of a more important measure of success – how we can be a blessing to others.
Success is the god of our time.
It’s what almost everyone aims for. Plans for. Goes to school for.
To be a success.
In one sense this is natural and even good. No one should want to live a mediocre life. God-driven ambition is a good thing. But in another sense trying to be successful is a fool’s errand…
I’ve experienced this firsthand. Early in my ministry I would try to be the most successful preacher at conferences. Have the best blog. Pastor the most successful church. I tried hard, and I’m sure I did some good, but it was never enough for me personally. And no matter how successful I was or my church was, I could always point to another person or church that was more successful.
But then I heard my friend, Matthew Barnett of the LA Dream Center say something that his father once told him that changed everything:
Stop trying to be a success and start trying to be a blessing.
My whole paradigm shifted. Now when I went to a conference, I was asking myself what the people there needed to hear. Not what would get me invited to more conferences. What blog posts would bless people the most? Not simply boost my numbers. How could I bless the most people in my city? Not just have the most people in my church.
You could spend a lifetime trying to achieve success that will always be just beyond you. Or you could spend it trying to bless everyone around you.
This past Sunday I preached on the God’s promise to Abraham. I was reminded that from the beginning, it was God’s intention that his people would be a blessing to others. Any blessings or successes that we receive are always meant to be shared and given away rather than held for our own glory and pleasure. Instead, we are blessed to be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.
– Genesis 12:3