We in the clergy can find ourselves in a struggle for significance. A thread runs through Rick Warren’s book The Purpose Driven Life that says, once a person finds his or her place in society, there will be eternal impact. In other words, we will make a difference for God’s glory. It seems that ministry can at times diminish one’s effectiveness . . . at least in our eyes.
I have attempted to analyze – from the notes I have received from pastors and from my own perspective – why we sometimes feel insignificant. As a result, I share the following unscientific conclusions:
- We unfairly compare ourselves to others whose ministries seem more effective.
- We are battling against the power base in our organizations, which doesn’t accept our dreams.
- We are worn out from stressful ministry. When we find ourselves in that condition, everything looks dim.
- We may have forgotten that the church we serve is God’s church and our people are His people.
- It might just be that we are finding our source of encouragement in the praise of people rather than in the Lord through His Word and private worship.
- There could be conflict in our families that complicates our lives. Unless we resolve those issues, we will always be in the negative.
Self-pity is a lousy prison, and if we ever think God doesn’t care, doesn’t know our situation, or may have mistaken our assignment, we will be less than content! Give yourself a few minutes to pout, and then move on!
As I’ve said before, just make up your mind to bloom where God has planted you. Greet each day with a smile, and end each day with a feeling that you have done your best.
“I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13).