In keeping with the theme of the message this coming weekend, I thought I would share an old post with you from one of my other blogs. This one gets pretty personal about my background…hope it helps you get to know Chel and me better!
Love: The Great Motivator
Being a functional part of a church body requires us to serve. Some of us serve as group leaders, band members, members of the setup team, preschool workers and in a myriad of other areas. Each of these areas has their own distinct challenges and benefits – none better or more important than the other – all striving to serve our body. As we step into these areas of servanthood, they often come with pats on the back and encouragement from those who are our Spiritual Mentors, those who serve with us and those who serve all around us. I’m not sure about you, but I enjoy a good pat on the back or “attaboy” from one of our pastors when I can get one. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t want to be appreciated for their work. Sometimes all of this encouragement tends to go “straight to the head,” resulting in a bunch of sheep (that’s us) walking around hoping that someone will see how much work we’ve done and even mention it from the pulpit.
Now, I have to tell you where the problem comes from! Those “attaboys” and “attagirls” will tend to become the driving force behind why we do what we do. As we spend time setting up at the YMCA we thing of that one glorious moment when Pastor Joe will walk in and see us serving and applaud us for our hard work. We work hard on our music hoping that someone will come through at that one moment and applaud us for our fantastic skills and talents. We work hard to grow our group – making phone calls to prospects, following up with everyone already in the group – hoping that someone will take note of our growth and give us more authority.
Speaking from Experience
When Chel and I started The Link (the young adult ministry back at Family Church), I was driven to succeed. I was going to be “Super Pastor” (that’s Chel’s not-so-affectionate term for it) and everyone was going to take note of how good I could do it. Don’t get me wrong, there were definitely moments that everything revolved around love, but in the beginning, I just wanted to prove we could handle the responsibility. We started with one home group and in two years we had eight – 10 people to 50 people. It was incredible! We were getting recognition from the pulpit, encouragement throughout the body. I stayed busy all the time. Ultimately, my goal was to be able to work in ministry full time at Family Church as a pastor. In the middle of my master plan to take over Family Church (a little exaggeration – but not much), I realized that I had missed the point of all the ministry I was doing. I was driven by how others saw me and this ministry. I was driven by a desire for the “older” adults to recognize the “younger” adults for their giftings and talents as well. I was driven by just about everything but love. One day the Lord opened my eyes by showing me one simple scripture.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in all things, consider others better than yourself. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Phil. 2:3-4
Well, if that doesn’t throw a wrench in your plans to glorify yourself, I don’t know what will. This ministry that I produced had become about numbers (not the good kind – but who’s got more than whom) and friends were suspicious of each other and everyone was afraid that if they didn’t keep up to expectations, their group would be taken from them. I had bred my sin into those who served with me. It was an ugly moment of self-realization. I had created mini-me’s. We had to take a step back, restructure and get focused on love and not on how we looked. We had to take the road of humility over the road of pride. In the middle of all of this, the Lord showed us that Chelsea and I were called to serve predominately in worship ministry and my time in The Link was to be a bridge for my generation to become adults (some of which did – some of which didn’t) and most importantly, for me to learn how to love – to develop the heart of a pastor. Now it looked like Chel and I had been absolute failures and everything we had built for two years was gone. Good thing I was learning that I was doing it because of love – not how we looked. We had to strive to follow the example of Christ. Philippians 2 goes on to say this:
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross! Phil. 2:5-8
What About You?
Alright, so I spilled the beans. That’s me! What about you? What’s your motivation? If you have tongues and can speak heavenly languages, prophecies and speak mysteries, mountain moving faith, the pastor’s cell number, the biggest home group or most dedicated team but have not love, you may be the loudest and most popular, may be in leadership at the highest levels, but it’s worth nothing (1 Cor. 13). Do you love people? Do you see them like Jesus did – with compassion? Do you serve and do outreach for you, or because of your love towards people?
And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Cor. 13:13