How to Overcome the Danger and Temptation of Comparing Your Ministry to OthersNovember 30, 2013
It’s human nature. Especially for men of God. We compare, contrast, and weigh our ministries by the successes, failures, and expectations of others. Regardless of your stage or level of ministry, this temptation is a persistent foe. The overachiever in us all wants to excel and advance. We want to win souls, build buildings, book meetings, grow ministries, speak frequently, minister often, and increase our network. However, some men, in the name of ministry, are simply trying to make a name for themselves. In this process, we can compare and contrast our lives with others thus affecting our motivation for what we do.
Have you ever felt inadequate or superior as a result of comparison? Let’s be honest, all of us at one time or another have grappled with this temptation. I certainly have; but one of the greatest days in my ministry was when the Lord showed me I had been measuring by the wrong standards. My success or failure is not determined by another’s experience; it is measured by my obedience to God’s word, and my acceptance to God’s will.
So how do we overcome such a disparaging subject? How can you get victory over comparison?
Realize the Consequences of Comparison
When we compare our ministries with others one of two things will happen: we will be full of pride, or full of pity. Full of pride if we are doing “better” than the next guy, full pity if we fall short of his success. The Lord doesn’t want our ministries to be characterized by either one of these mindsets.
Don’t Believe Everything You Read
One of the dangers of social media is all the hype that goes on in particular ministries. I too have been guilty of posting big days about Sunday worship (souls saved, families join, record attendance, high spiritual meetings). There is nothing wrong with having these experiences – I pray that we all have these types of days, every Sunday.
However, I have also been on the other end: bad preaching experience, poor attendance, hard Sundays…you know, the big-let downs, only to read about how God saved 10,000 at another church (tongue in cheek). It is not that I am jealous, no, on the contrary, I am joyful of the souls saved in other meetings. But when I compare it with my experience, it gives room for me to question the “if’s, and’s, and but’s.” Rule of thumb: don’t believe everything you read; I assure you, on the other end, they are having some hard days as well.
Measure Your Success by Your Obedience to Christ
God doesn’t give everyone the same ministry. Noah had a building ministry. Moses had a shepherding ministry. David had a writing ministry. We all have particular tasks and assignments that are ordained by God. Most of the time we get in trouble when we covet what God has allocated to others.
My true measure of success is my obedience to Christ. If it is His will for me to pastor 30 or 3000 people, I must commit my allegiance and affection to that plan, regardless of its size. In doing that, I have fulfilled my ultimate duty – submission to God’s will and design for my life.
Keep Your Motives in Check
Why are you doing what you are doing? Do you preach for popularity? Do you start ministries because it is working down the road? Do you have a certain approach because of the “brethren’s” expectations? From time to time, we should take inventory of our motives and ask ourselves this one prevailing question: is this for the glory of God? If it is, keep it there! If it is not, get it there, or get rid of it.
Yes, this word should be part of our modern vernacular…even for preachers, dare I say, especially for preachers. If this insidious habit of comparison has captured your heart and attention, ask the Lord to forgive you, and keep a fortified wall around your intentions and will. The only place this law of comparison and contrast should be allowed to exist is in our hermeneutical approach to Scripture. Rid it from your heart and ask God to forgive you.