Originally published Tuesday, 16 October 2012.
There is absolutely no competition in the Kingdom of God. Run your race. Do what God has called you to do. Am I saying there can never be a friendly competition among church friends? Of course not. But If you are concerned with becoming "the next big thing" in the Christian world, check your heart.
Are you running your nonprofit, because you want to change lives or so that others may know what you are doing? Are you hosting that Bible study in hopes that you will one day be the biggest at your church or so that others may know Christ more intimately? Do you sing just a little louder than everyone else from the choir loft to praise your King or in hopes that someone may discover you as the next big talent at your church?
".....whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31b
Jesus says in Matthew 6:1-2 to be careful not to do good deeds publicly for the admiration of others, for that may be all the reward you will ever get! Do it because you want to see the Kingdom of Heaven grow. Do it to serve others. Do it because the Lord prompted you.
Do you get jealous when the church or ministry across town has an event that happens to catch the eye of the local newspaper? Or do you rejoice that God is using them in such a way?
Do you find yourself critiquing another church, pastor, or ministry that has a similar ministry as yours?
Do you feel genuine excitement when God elevates another church or ministry for His purposes? Or do you secretly struggle with jealousy?
It doesn't matter if no one ever sees how much trash you have picked up after services, how many hours you have worked on that message, or how many women you have prayed with at coffee shops. The Lord saw. He sees you working to bring others unto Himself. He sees your genuine compassion.
May I challenge you to rest in knowing that your place - your role - in the Kingdom is significant. The one who happens to be on stage sharing the Word (whether to 50 or 5,000) is not more significant than the one wiping babies' noses in the nursery. They each have their role. And.....the event, Bible study, or ministry doesn't run as smoothly, if we each don't step into our role and utilize the gifts God has given to us.
"Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ's body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other. " Romans 12:4-5
Understand that churches, ministries, nonprofits, and Bible studies are healthy when they produce "fruit." Sometimes that is indicated through numbers and sometimes not.
Finally, I would urge you to be very careful about gaging someone else's motivations. It is much easier to criticize, judge, and point fingers at another church, ministry, or Bible study than to encourage and glean knowledge from them.
Jennifer Maggio is an award-winning author and speaker who has a passion to see the body of Christ live life in total freedom. She is founder of The Life of a Single Mom Ministries and Overwhelmed: The Single Moms Magazine. She has been featured in hundreds of media venues. For more information, visit http://www.jennifermaggio.com.