We enjoyed a gorgeous week at Outer Banks with my in-laws. Our kids love playing with their 2 cousins in the surf and sand; while my brother-in-law and I often build them sand structures for amusement. In case you think this is another Biblical teaching about “building on the sand versus the Rock”, it’s not.
My brother-in-law, Derek and I are very different with our own unique styles. Derek’s way of building for the kids was to dig holes, build “pools” and construct a tunnel. The kids loved it!
However, I spent much of my time creating in an entirely different manner. My nephew and I built large foundations for a city with walls and castles that we laid with a variety of plastic buckets and sand molds. It was extremely time consuming and tedious, but we found it rewarding. (Actual picture below)
After a few hours when I was finishing up one of our biggest projects, I felt a twinge of jealousy as my daughter was really having fun with Uncle Derek’s project. Suddenly, the idea crossed my mind that I wanted his tunnel to collapse. I quickly realized it was a lie and renounced it and then the Lord began to speak to me about Churches and ministry…
SELFISH OR SELFLESS AMBITION ?
Who are we ministering for?
If we are truly “building” for the King and the Kingdom, we desire our brothers and sisters to also succeed. Churches and ministers are not in competition with each other because we are not supposed to be trying to create something “big” or “great” for our name, but His Name. We are on the same team.
Think of the world like a giant beach and our legacy is like the sand castles we build for our kids.
Firstly, there is plenty of room for us all to build as big or as little of a “sand castle” that we want to build. Actually, we are supposed to be filling the “beach” with His Kingdom and no single Church or ministry will ever be big enough to do that alone.
It’s going to take every family building their own structures, in their area and in their own time. God set this Kingdom up so that it functions like a body that needs every part operating at full capacity in coordination with all of the bodies members. We all have a unique sphere of influence. And we all have different giftings and callings.
Secondly, there is plenty of sand. There is no shortage of resources as we build God’s Kingdom because “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness of it.” He owns all things because everything was created by him and for him! He is currently filling everything with himself. We don’t need to compete with our neighbor for funds, congregants or followers. When our neighboring ministry succeeds, we don’t fail.
The Kingdom increases! When the Kingdom increases, we all increase; even if we can’t perceive how because we are all a part of the same growing body of Christ! When the body grows, every functioning member grows along with it!
The truth is that we are all building something for our children; whether natural or spiritual. We give our entire lives, our beings to growing God’s Kingdom and when we die; only what was done without selfish motive will remain. If our motive is for the increase of our own name, we may build something huge that appears to be great, but it will not honor the Lord.
We can have all of the spiritual giftings in the world, but if we do not operate in love; it will profit nothing. Love does not seek it’s own. Love is not a feeling, but a completely selfless motive. Love does not desire to outdo another, but desires it’s neighbor to also succeed.
If we get wrapped up in a competitive attitude with surrounding churches or ministries, we have crossed over on to the opposing team. The sad part is that the very people that we are jealous of may be the very people we should be cooperating with. One of the most basic ways the enemy causes division is by introducing selfishness where there should be selflessness.
As soon as we let it be about us, it’s no longer about the Lord. God doesn’t desire increase for you and failure for your neighbor. That’s how the enemy wants us to think. But God wants to increase the entire Body! Only the enemy desires that the Body of Christ ever experiences failure. But love always builds up.
If we begin to listen to ideas that have selfish intentions, we cannot cooperate with what God is doing. It’s time that we set aside our agendas and seek firstly and foremost the Kingdom of God.