As I was scrolling through Instagram, there it was…another post from a church in the area snapshotting the resources they were giving away to parents. I could feel the bitterness attempting to rise in me as I mentally computed the cost of a resource like that one.
“If only I had more money in my budget…”
“If only I had as many staff members in my area…”
“If only I had as many volunteers…”
Bitterness tells us lies about ourselves and our ministry. Where bitterness grows, ministry dies. The only way to combat bitterness is to counter it with positive offensive thoughts and actions.
When we try to weigh our ministry against another, the main thing we lose is our own identity. Every church has a different context in which they are doing ministry. We have to minister within our own context. We need to look at the makeup of the church we’ve been placed in along with the wiring God has placed in us. Does your ministry reflect that, or does it look like an imitation of another ministry? It’s fine to take ideas we see and use them but do so with your own “flavor.”
The ministry comparison trap is a dangerous one. It can rob us of all of our joy. As with life and with anything else, we need to learn to be content with what God has given us to be in charge of at this time. This is a hard one for me. My personality lends itself to constantly want more - the bigger the better. And if that's not what my is reflecting then I tend to ask, "What is wrong with me?"
God made no mistakes when he set you apart in your ministry at this time - no mistake. Have confidence that God has confidence in you. Have faith that God can use any person and any vehicle (whether big or small) to accomplish his purpose of making himself known. "Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much." Luke 16:10a
Nothing fights bitterness more than giving yourself away. No matter the stage or size of church we are in, we all have a way to pour back into others. Network online with other ministry leaders to share ideas. Meet with a local leader to discuss ministry needs in your community. Go to conferences and take time after a breakout to get to know someone. Be for someone else what you wish you had for yourself on your journey.
How do you combat bitterness when you’re tempted to compare?