What You Do Really Matters

coffee4.jpgI’ve felt as if it didn’t.  I’ve felt at times as if what I was doing really didn’t matter.

Have you ever felt this way?

  • I have felt as if I wasn’t a good enough preacher.  "If only I were a better speaker…"
  • I have felt as if my church wasn’t large enough.  "If only I were at the church of my dreams, then…"
  • I have felt as if I wasn’t very important.  "If I were important, then I would have the opportunity to…"
  • I have felt as if my work was not all that significant.  I remember feeling some jealousy when my friend spoke of some who were "…in the influential pulpits."  "If only my work could be important then…"

Maybe, just maybe, you have never had similar feelings.  Maybe you have never wrestled with your ego.  Maybe you have always felt secure.  If this is true, thank God.

I hope — I really hope — that I have moved past a lot of these feelings and thoughts.  (I say this with some tentativeness for fear that I fall into the same worn-out trap again.)

I want to live right now with the same fresh spirit and energy that I had when I first began my work as a minister.  I do not want to be focused on myself, or the scorecard, or who seems to be ahead, etc.  Rather, I want to be focused on my vocation or my calling before God.  I want to believe that if my work is offered up to the Lord, then it is significant ministry.  I want to always believe that God does not measure things the way we do.  Rather, he is the God who is able to make much out of little.  He feeds thousands with five loaves of bread and two fish.  He is the God who blesses the most unassuming ministry and turns it into a powerful force for his purposes.   

Have you ever felt this way about your life and ministry?  Have you ever fought the insecurity of feeling as if your ministry was inferior to that of others?

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11 thoughts on “What You Do Really Matters

  1. I felt that way once and then I realized, this is having a hard time being productive.  Instead of loathing in self-pity, I decided to turn it over to God and have him direct a direction for me to move forward and get things done for His glory.  I just had to learn how to change my attitude and then,….the whole world changes.

  2. I think most everyone has those thoughts and feelings.  Is what I do significant?  Does it mean anything?  Most of the time, we know that we make a difference.  We just want it to be more, bigger.  I get the impression that significance is like money.  No matter how much you have, you tend to overlook it, take it for granted, want more.  And, like money, we have to come back to questions like "How am I using what I have now?  Why do I think I’d be a better manager if only I had more than I have now?"

  3. Jim
    I think sometimes the settings that other ministers see each other in, feeds this problem.  You know the kind of lectureship/conference type talk that centers on how big, how great, how many etc….
    I love it most when God shows us that our weakness and our brokeness is what has ministered to people.  I need that reminder often.
    Picking up a Henri Nouwen book every now and then keeps me centered.

  4. As a young mother with two toddlers I often had those feelings of insignificance . How can I do God’s work when I’m engrossed in babies? My dear husband reminded me during one of these periods that raising my children was God’s work and the best ministry I could be doing. Now that my children are grown and have children of their own I try to remind them and other young mothers that they are doing one of the most important ministries of their lives. Often, like young mothers, we get overwhelmed with the daily and often unpleasant side of our "ministry" and wish for the more important and recognized kind. I have to agree with Arlene that reading Henri Nouwen helps to center me when those times hit me and bowl me over.

  5. Frank,I like the comparison that you make between significance and money.  I suspect you are right.I like these two questions at the end of your comment. "How am I using what I have now?  Why do I think I’d be a better manager if only I had more than I have now?"Thanks 

  6. Arlene,I think you are right.  There are some settings that really do contribute to these feelings.Your comment re Nouwen makes me want to read him again.  Some years ago, I spent a number of months reading much of what he had written (at that time).  It was a rich few months.  I need to return to a few of his works again. 

  7. Dana,A great comment that many, many young mom’s and dad’s can identify with.   In particular, I really like this sentence:Often, like young mothers, we get overwhelmed with the daily and often
    unpleasant side of our "ministry" and wish for the more important and
    recognized kind.
    Very true…

  8. I wrestled with those feelings for years, and the longer I stayed in ministry, the more difficult it was to shake them. In many ways, I think it is pandemic to the religious system we’ve made of a much simpler walk with the Lord.