Recently I was in a meeting with a little over 20 other pastors and ministry leaders. It was wonderful to see the transparency, love, and support within the group. I reflected on how many times, it seems, however, that churches compete, and leaders feel threatened by other leaders and churches, and how critical leaders can be of other leaders.
I thought back to when I was a platoon leader in the army. I don’t ever remember, on a mission, being resentful or threatened or jealous of another platoon that was on the mission with mine. To the contrary, the more we were, and the better they did, made me and my men safer and more likely to succeed on the mission and at staying alive. It wasn’t my mission, it was the country’s mission and the commander's mission—we were all just partners in bringing it to pass and success.
It struck me that a lot of the way we react to others who work in a similar capacity to ourself depends on whether we see ourself as “king,” or as serving a king. If we see ourself at the top, as number one in our heart and priority, then everyone else working for a same goal as us is a threat. We must guard against them infringing on our territory, or getting bigger or more powerful than us. We are on guard, jealous, self-promoting, bitter. But, if we see ourself as willing servants of a king whom we love and honor, than everyone else working for the same goal as ourself is an asset, a benefit—someone to be grateful for, and to bless, and to rejoice in their success.It is so freeing to serve Someone bigger than yourself!
If the glory of our, and other's, success passes through us and goes to the King we both serve, and if that is our desire and hope, then whether it is us, or them, that brings glory to our King doesn’t matter. It is when glory, or recognition, or achievement is something we want for ourself that we are threatened by another getting it.
I wonder what this nation would be like if every pastor and church leader and denominational leader truly desired the glory of God and the expansion of His Kingdom above all else. I wonder what it would be like if every Christian desired that first and foremost as well, and sought for it in the workplace, the family, the neighborhood, the schools. If our life was not about us, our glory, our success, but about Him, and His glory, and His name—if it didn’t matter if one person every knew our name or what we did, but it only mattered that all that was said, thought, and done brought Him glory.