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In the Midst of the Pandemic, A Hard Lesson Learned

This past week my social media feed has been overwhelmed by the number of live-streamed ministries. I’m guessing yours has been too! Some of them have been simple recordings off a phone or tablet, and others have been high-tech productions. And if I’m being honestREALLY honestas our team was prepping for our own virtual launch, I was feeling a ton of pressure to produce something studio-worthy and have it stream on a hundred different platforms we weren’t even on. I was tempted to spend tons of money that we didn’t have so we could have a nice, polished ministry broadcast; I wanted people to think we were something we aren’t! My friends, I have been living in sin: the sin of comparison! Comparison is the thief of joy and the fuel that feeds our insecurities’ flame. 

 In an age where everything we do is online for all to see, the comparison virus is in full swing. It’s more contagious than coronavirus and more dangerous to our spiritual lives. At a time when corporate worship has left the building and saturated the social media feeds, we have to come to a place where we are okay with who we are in Christ and what God has called us to donot what He is calling the ministry down the road to do. We have to actively reject the temptation, which can lead us to envy or to criticize.. Let’s not allow our own insecurities and pride to keep us from being fully effective for the kingdom of God! Look at what Scripture says:

 Parable of the Talents

In Matthew 25 a master hands out money to his servants and leaves. Each of the servants gets a different amount. The first two take the money and invest it to expand the fortune. The third one sits on it and misses the opportunity. Notice in this parable that the servants were rewarded or punished not for what they had, but what they did with what they had! The master didn’t come back and say, “You only had one? How dare you!” Likewise, he doesn’t say, “You have ten; well done!” My friends, we are judged by what we do with what we have, not by what we have! In God’s economy, the faithful large ministry with more resources won’t be celebrated more than the faithful small ministry barely making it! Faithfulness is the plumb linenot numbers, polish, or platform! 

 Take heart! God sees the faithfulness of your heart and your use of resources, and He celebrates over you. You can only do what you can do. In Mark 4:26-27 Jesus says, “‘The kingdom of God is like a man who scatters seed on the ground. Night and day he sleeps and wakes, and the seed sprouts and grows, though he knows not how.’” He scatters seed and then he goes to sleep. Do the things the Lord has asked you to do, and then go to sleep! Busyness does not equate to godliness and obedience. In the same way, stepping back and resting when God has asked you to press in and work hard isn’t self care; it’s disobedience. Be of good cheer! God is judging your heart and your faithfulnessnot your social media footprint.

 “What about him?”

In John 21 Peter gets his marching orders from the resurrected Jesus. In the midst of their conversation, he turns and points to John and asks Jesus about him. John 21:21 reads, “When Peter saw him, he asked, ‘Lord, what about him?’ Jesus answered, ‘If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.’” 

In our more prideful moments, we look at Peter and think he has to be crazy to ask that. Yet in our more honest moments, how many times have we looked over our shoulder, questioned someone else’s calling, and wondered what they’re doing out of envy or a critical spirit? All the while Jesus is saying to us, “Do you love me? Feed my sheep.” Often I find my mouth, like Peter’s, saying, “Yes, Lord! You know I love you!” But my actions betray me and are asking, But what about him? Am I getting my fair share? Instead of being faithful with the calling that God has placed in my life, I’m busy worrying if I am keeping up with someone else with a different calling. If we spent more time watering our own relationships with God, working in the harvest field of our callings and not worrying about what others have or do, then the grass wouldn’t look greener on the other side. I can only imagine that Peter was tempted to worry if Jesus loved John more. I bet John was tempted to fear that if only he’d been more obedient, he wouldn’t be the only apostle who died naturally. Insecurity plagues us all. Comparison can ruin any relationship and any ministry moment.

 If Christ isn’t enough for us with a small ministry, no staff, and a shoddy production team, then He will not be enough with the little blue check mark next to our name on social media and our own YouTube channel. Jesus is not as concerned with our quantity and quality in ministry production as much as He is about our identity in Him.

 If we find ourselves trapped in the chaos of comparison, there are two things that help provide clarity: identity and calling. Who am I in Christ? What are His promises to me? What am I called to do right now? Am I being faithful to those things?

 Be a worker in the Lord’s harvest. Let’s not waste time looking to our left or right wondering if we’re enough or second-guessing ourselves because other workers have more or less than us.  God has chosen us, reconciled us to Himself, and given us His Spirit to lead and guide us! Our identity and calling are secure. Let’s work in confidence, walk in obedience, and serve in faithfulness. Let God sort out the details. He is better at that than we are anyway!

Clayton Bullion is the Director of the Baptist Student Ministry (BSM) at Tarleton State University in Texas and Chief Dreamer and Storyteller for T:Net, a network of campus ministry plants out of Tarleton BSM.  In 2019, Clayton and some friends founded the Campus Multiplication Network, a training program and network of campus ministries trying to plant gospel movements on new campuses.

This is a resource that was put together as part of the training process for Campus Multiplication Network. The vision of CMN is to equip leaders who desire to plant new ministries on college campuses until there is no campus left without a multiplying gospel movement. We provide training and coaching for collegiate ministry leaders who are looking to accelerate evangelistic growth and start new multiplying campus ministries. For more information, you can email campusmultiplicationnetwork@gmail.com

 

 

 

 
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