Issue #37 Am I Making a difference?
I was recently talking with a pastor who was discouraged. He said to me, “I am genuinely helping people, right?” “Of course, you are,” I told him, “More than you realize.”
I have to believe that many, if not all, pastors and ministry leaders have felt this way and probably have asked this very question at one time or another. Is my work really making a difference in people’s lives?
We enter the ministry because we love Christ, believe His word, have a calling, and want to help people. But often times, we look at the work we’re doing and wonder if that last part is happening. We preach week after week to the same people who don’t seem to change at all. We counsel men and women who make the same mistakes and continue believing the same wrong things. It’s tempting to throw our hands in the air and say, “Does any of this matter?”
But it’s not the right question. The question isn’t: “Am I really helping people?” The question should be: “Am I honoring God?” If you base the success of your ministry by the lives transformed before your eyes, you will either become puffed with conceit because of your achievements or you will sink into despair because of your failures. Success in ministry cannot, ultimately, be measured by how many people get saved and sanctified. Paul’s aim was to present every man mature in Christ, but that is not how he measured success. He measured success by his faithfulness, and you should too.
Don’t forget, the Lord Jesus had the ability to draw crowds and change people’s lives better than anyone. Yet repeatedly He did and said things that made the crowds leave or, worse, want to kill Him. That’s because Jesus didn’t come to please man, but to please God.
So, next week, when you finish preaching your sermon, you should ask, “Did this sermon please God? Was I faithful to the meaning of the text? Did I preach Christ in a manner that honored Him? Did I give this sermon my best efforts?” If yes, then leave the rest to God. At the end of your life, the Lord will not count how many people got baptized in your ministry or walked an aisle. He will say to you, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”