I have the opportunity to spend time with some of the most amazing young church leaders in the country. Many of them are already published authors. Many of them are in churches that, when church leaders serving average size churches sit down together, they’re talking about the churches these young pastors serve. Many of these young pastors are accomplishing things in their thirties most of us could have only dreamed of accomplishing in a lifetime. And every one of them, if they so choose, could be making a name for himself or herself.
But I can tell you from experience, making a name for yourself is unwise. There are multiple reasons it is unwise. A few of those reasons are noted below.
1. It takes your eyes off of Jesus.
2. It creates an inner tension that will kill your heart as you’re consistently asking, 1) Am I gifted enough?, 2) How am I going to stay in the ranks of those who are well-known? 3) What if, in a few years, no one cares what I think? 4) What must I do to establish myself as an expert and remain a known entity in my area of ministry?
3. You find yourself more apt to tell your own story than to share Christ’s story, the Gospel.
4. God will at some point be forced to humble you so that you serve Him from a pure and humbled heart.
A few weeks ago I posted the blog below. This was a moment in time that was life-changing for me. Young pastor, I hope these words will aid you as you strive to be a humble servant of Almighty God.
This morning, as I was spending time with God, I was blindsided by His extraordinarily deafening whispers. While praying, I found myself daydreaming. I must confess, I struggle with this often. And, because praying takes us into the depths of our hearts, I’m afraid my true person is often revealed in the daydreams.
This morning my daydreams were focused on my legacy. I was wondering how people would think of me after this body of mine was in the grave. My own need to be known was rearing its ugly head again and I was playing right into the beast’s hands. In the middle of this myriad of self-aggrandizement I heard the voice of God as he whispered, “It’s not about you, it’s about Jesus.” My Heavenly Father was kindly, politely, yet sternly refocusing whose name I was called to represent.
If I were to describe the intention of the Father’s heart as I understood it this morning I would describe it as follows… “Rick, your goal should be to leave no legacy at all. When you’re with me in heaven, if you’ve left the legacy you should leave, my Son’s name will so saturate the minds of those you’ve influenced that your name will have no room there. You are to leave Jesus’ legacy, not your own.”