Too often the church can be a very competitive place. As we have allowed materialism to penetrate our faith, pressures have grown to keep up with what others are doing and to draw attention to our product or places of worship. Entire industries exist to service the Christian population with the requisite favorite authors, speakers and musicians. We squabble over who’s more talented, who’s better spoken and who is most effective. It reminds me of when the twelve disciples were arguing about which one of them was greatest in the eyes of Jesus (Mark 9:33-37). Jesus made it clear that they were asking the wrong question and that the only way to become great was to sacrifice all thoughts of becoming so.
In I Corinthians 3:3-7, Paul addresses the church in Corinth regarding their disposition to ally themselves with either himself or Apollos. His point was that as long as we are choosing any side other than Jesus we still do not get it. It absolutely does not matter who is doing the work of the Kingdom, as long as the work is getting done. Some may be doing more glamorous work for God in the eyes of the world, but Jesus isn’t looking at what we do for Him through the lenses of humanity. He is not concerned with our social standing; He only sees our intentions and our heart.
Whatever you do, do it for the glory of god. If we have ambitions to achieve anything outside of carrying on His mission then we are simply wasting our time and our lives. It’s fine to be successful at what you do so long as that does not become either your focus or a source of pride. Don’t judge success by worldly standards either; true success is living a life that looks like Jesus and is spent serving others so as to bring glory to His name. We are all uniquely gifted and all serve important and intertwined purposes with one another (Ephesians 4:11-13; Ephesians 4:16; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11). It doesn’t matter who does what job and we should never strive to do something we perceive as more “glamorous” simply for the sake of finding our fulfillment in that activity. Our identity must be found only in Jesus Christ; nothing else will last and nothing else will sustain you.
It’s time to put an end to the competition within the church. We shouldn’t care who has the nicer facilities, the better musicians or the most articulate speakers; all of this misses the point. All of our talents and gifts should be used to further the mission of Jesus Christ and that is all. The number of people attending your church is irrelevant; book and music sales are irrelevant; outer appearances are irrelevant. Any and everything you accomplish in this world that does not draw attention to God is off mission and useless. When we come to the point that everything we do is as a servant to others in order to point them to the love of Jesus, there we will find our meaning and purpose.
Are you competing with others within the kingdom to present yourself as one more worthy of their respect? Only Jesus will ever deserve that accolade. Our goal must be to reflect His love so brightly that others cannot help but be drawn to His love and mercy. Don’t lose sight of what is important in your life as you seek to follow Him. Do your part, be the best you can be, and do it for the right reason; He’ll take care of the rest. There is no room for competition within the kingdom of Jesus Christ.
Question: In what way have you been competing for attention within the kingdom? You can share your comments with others below.