The biggest day of the year for church attendance has come and gone. Easter Sunday, the number one day of the year when pastors and church leaders around the globe attempt to woo the masses into visiting their church, and hopefully, become a regular member.
Although I’m no longer a pastor, haven’t been for over five years, I can still recall some of the feelings I’d have to deal with on Easter; and especially the day after.
Through the years I’ve had the privilege of pastoring two churches for a total of about eighteen years. Both churches were growing churches; one grew upward in attendance, the other, downward. Try as we might to reach out to our community, I’d many times feel embarrassed and cheated by a low Easter attendance.
So I ask the question: are preachers ever guilty of jealousy?
Yes, they are. Is it good? No, but it happens. Has it happened to you? Is it happening to you?
Yesterday I looked at a number of Facebook posts from area churches, their pastors and members. I’ve divided them into two groups. One group told of the number of salvations, visitors, baptisms, etc. Very exciting to read. The other group posted a much more simple message; nice, but I’d hardly call it exciting. “Had a great Easter Service and breakfast”, pretty much defined the whole day.
I’m not putting anyone down for their Facebook post. Not at all. But as I read the first group’s gloriously glowing posts, I couldn’t help but think back to the days when Easter didn’t end up like I’d envisioned. For whatever reason, it wasn’t the “breakthrough service” I had prayed, planned, promoted, or preached for.
And before twenty four hours would pass, I would be filled with jealousy and resentment.
Sorry, I didn’t mean to burst your bubble.
Actually, a person doesn’t need to be a pastor, or even “in the ministry” to be guilty of jealousy. But just because a person is a spiritual leader doesn’t make them immune to those terribly sick feelings.
We need to recognize those feelings, call them what they are, and get rid of them. I know it’s hard to do, especially with the adversary whispering all the reasons why you deserve much more than you’re receiving. But something which might help you beat the jealousy demon back into its hole is to give thanks to God for the people you’re jealous of.
After all, shouldn’t each of us, regardless of the scope of our leadership influence, have just one primary focus? Aren’t you and I called to be faithful?
Faithful to our individual calling, not someone else’s.
I thought about adding a number of scriptures pertaining to jealousy and envy, but that’s really unnecessary, don’t you think? We all know it’s wrong to wish for something another person has, or maybe even worse, wish the other person or preacher wasn’t doing as well as they were. It only causes us to forget the things God has called us to do.
I remember the wonderful pity parties I used to throw for myself. I could sit for a couple hours “meditating” on how unfair ministry is; and instead of doing something creative, I’d end up wishing my life away.
I hope your Easter Sunday went well for you. I hope you were in the first group, the one with all the glorious pictures and comments. God’s good, all the time, and Jesus is still alive!
But if yesterday was kind of a drag, and all your effort seemed wasted, the Lord has a word for you, as well. He’d like you to remember He’s good, all the time, and Jesus is still alive.
Jesus is the One Who builds His church. Yes, we’re workers together with Him. Yes, it’s His desire to see everyone born again. Yes, yes, yes.
But He’s only requiring one thing from us. Faithfulness. Faithfulness to His call, direction, and everyday opportunities. Nothing more, nothing less.
So please don’t waste any part of your life giving in to feelings of jealousy. You’re part of something far greater than your own little world. You’re part of the glorious kingdom of God.
And God is just as much God in your neck of the woods, as He is in someone else’s. He’s STILL able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all you can ask or even think!