Jealous of Another’s Ministry?
Admit it: you get jealous of other people’s ministries. I know I do. Whether it’s the mega-church pastor from another country, or that local church pastor from down the street, or that other youth group that’s bigger and cooler, or that well-resourced church with the ‘to-die-for’ ministry or music team, the fact of the matter is that we get jealous. We all do – whether you’re in full-time ministry, a Bible College student, a youth leader, or just a church attendee, we often find ourselves looking at other ministries with green-eyes.
And yet we all know that getting jealous of other ministries is at its root so wrong, so small-minded, so selfish. Why? It’s ‘coz we know we’re in it for God’s Kingdom, not for ours. Does it matter if the church down the road is bigger, better, more influential if God’s Kingdom is advancing?
Ministerial jealousy is damaging not just because it’s sinful and worldly. It’s also damaging because so often out of our own spirit of jealousy we will say things, do things, harbour things that directly damage the churches/ministries we’re jealous of. When that high profile church leader (of whom we’re all secretly jealous) says or does something, just watch how quickly the guns start pointing at him. It happens. You’ve done it, I’ve done it. Suddenly they’re not our brother/sister any more, they’re ‘competition'; and rather than giving them the benefit of the doubt, our bitter and jealous hearts lead us to gossip, speak, preach, blog, facebook and twitter some very very unkind things.
I write this not as someone who’s figured it all out. As I said, I get jealous, envious, bitter, competitive too.
So let me share with you how I’ve been challenged by God to respond. Firstly, I ask the Holy Spirit to lay my heart bare and expose anything that is remotely driven by jealousy. Next I confess it to God, ask for his forgiveness and repent of it. Then I confess it to someone else. If I know the person of whom I’m jealous I confess it to them. I at least confess it to my closest friend, my wife.
But then last of all and perhaps most rewarding of all, I deliberately find ways of blessing the person/church/ministry I’m jealous of. I go out of my way to pray for God’s blessing on them – that they would exceed even their own expectations, that they would ‘succeed’ even at the expense of my own ministry. And I also find opportunities to speak well of their ministries, speak blessing to their ministries and about their ministries. I will seek to be their biggest fan – and sincerely so, not just putting on a farce.
I’ve found that last step particularly humbling and helpful. It’s amazing what God will do in helping you combat your spirit of jealousy when you take that step as a part of your repentance to honour and bless rather than tear down and destroy.
So, who do you need to start blessing today?