“I’m kind of a big deal…people know me…I’m very important…” – Ron Burgundy
I’m sure you’re asking yourself, “why on earth did Evan start a blog about ministry with a Ron Burgundy quote?” Two reasons:
- Anchorman is one of the greatest movies ever created
- So many people in ministry (myself included) are guilty of having this kind of attitude at times.
Lately, I’ve been thinking a great deal about ministry. Not only this, but people my age that are considering going into ministry or are in ministry (if you are a Christian, you are in ministry. Your life is your ministry). Almost all of us have one thing in common: we want to be THE thing. We want to be a “big deal” for God. As much as it pains me (and anyone else) to really be honest with themselves and realize our prideful stupidity.
“BUT EVAN! I want to be used by God! I want to see AMAZING things for the Kingdom happen!” So do I! That’s great! I applaud that! But we need to be honest with ourselves and ask this question: is this because we truly want to see God glorified, or do we want to be glorified as a great man (or woman) “after God’s heart”?
The easiest way to check our hearts is to see what our hearts are inclined to. Would we be as satisfied at a small church as much as a megachurch? Would we be as satisfied leading a Bible study with 3 people present as much as we would a room full of 50 people? While I have no problem with megachurches or large ministries, we have to ask ourselves—why is my heart inclined towards “big”?
In America especially, we often view success by numbers. A large bank account means someone is “financially successful”. A person with a lot of friends is successful in being “popular”. Having a great deal of material possessions is seen as “success”. It seems as though in America, bigger is better, and our culture pushes this agenda, and we even push it ourselves through social media.
Social media also pushes the idea of being a “big deal”, as we all crave likes, favorites, hearts, and whatever forms of validation and attention via technological interaction are yet to come. Not only this, but our brains even release dopamine when receive attention online, craving to be known even more.
I want to be clear—I don’t believe that being rich, being popular, having material possessions, social media is a bad thing (I use money, I have possessions, and I tweet, Facebook, Instagram, and [obviously] blog), but I think what is bad is what may be hidden from our sight, deep within our hearts. It’s about what controls our hearts. It’s this thing called pride that can take over every thought, motive, and aspect of our lives. While pride can come in all sorts of forms, this can take an incredible hold of how we run our ministries and conduct ourselves as Christians.
When we want to be the “big deal”, we want the glory for ourselves, NOT God. Yikes. In ministry, we’re supposed to mimic the actions of Christ. I don’t think Jesus would have ever wanted to be known for selfish reasons, but to glorify God.
I know what you’re thinking, “but Evan, Jesus WAS God. Who else would He be glorifying besides Himself?” You’re right. But think about the way that Christ conducted Himself. He associated with the lowly. He loved the unlovable. He died for guilty, dirty, rotten sinners like me. Jesus lived a life of serving in humility, not pride.
In my measly 23 years of life (I say measly because anyone older than me reading this has far more wisdom and life experience than I), I have seen two church plants I was a part of fail, a megachurch that helped my growth in Christ fail, and ministries fall apart. The reason? They wanted to be known for doing “great works” more than making God known. The end result is ugly, as it says in Proverbs 16:18-20,
“Pride goes before destruction,
and a haughty spirit before a fall.
It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor
than to divide the spoil with the proud.
Whoever gives thought to the word will discover good,
and blessed is he who trusts in the LORD.”
While pride may work for awhile, eventually, a proud person will be brought low, whether in this life or the next. You, like Ron Burgundy, may be a big deal, people may know you, but eventually none of that will matter. What matters is giving thought to God’s Word, trusting in Him, and glorifying Him through everything you do.
The truth is, I suck at not being prideful sometimes. Maybe you do too. Over the course of the weeks, months, and years to come, I need to be checking my heart for ministry. Am I doing this to be the “big deal” or to glorify God? I hope you join me in doing the same. Because no one in ministry should be a “big deal”.