I need to make a couple of observations about the nature of ministry. The way God chooses to lead His ministry is often difficult to get our arms around. Finding direction in the corporate world comes somewhat easier. There’s a clearly stated bottom line, shareholders to report to, and defined markets that guide company decisions.
Ministry matters are rarely that obvious and objective. We serve a Head we cannot see, and we listen to a voice we cannot literally hear. Often we feel as if we’re being asked to follow a plan we do not understand. And I need to repeat here, during the process of discovering God’s leading, we are subject to enormous changes. These are changes we must embrace in the power of the Spirit if we are to obey our Lord’s lead. Though we are accountable to the churches we serve, ultimately, each one of God’s servants answers to God. Without that sort of single-minded devotion to the Lord, we run the risk of becoming people-pleasers. Christian leaders who become pawns as they focus on pleasing people are pathetic wimps.
Honestly, there have been times in my younger life when I stumbled onto that slippery slide. I look back on those few occasions with only regret. Nothing good ever comes from a ministry devoted to pleasing people.
Rather than being a warrior for the King, it is easy to become an insecure wimp, relying on human opinions and longing for human approval. By His grace I won’t go there again. My responsibility is to deliver what God’s people need, not what they want. As I do, that truth hits me with the same authority as it does the folks with whom I communicate. May God deliver every honest pastor, every truth-seeking church leader, and every Christian from the bondage of pleasing people.
Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.