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This is Part 3 of the series “Putting the Mask on First.”
Part 1: Putting the Mask on First
Part 2: Say Yes to Time with the Father
Consider your view and assumptions about success and how your organization defines and measures success.
- What makes our organization and ourselves successful?
- How do we choose to measure success?
- What do we reward?
- How did Jesus define success?
- What did Jesus reward?
I brought You glory on earth – How? Why? – by accomplishing that which You called Me to do. (John 17:4, ESV)
Jesus declared that His view of success and effectiveness was directly tied to His obedience to the Father, not to an organization.
Let me suggest to you that there is no such thing as a Christian organization. Regardless of all the great things LeaderSource – or World Vision, or Compassion – has accomplished, the organization will not be in the Kingdom of God. But think about it. Who will?
Once something (group or movement) becomes an organization or institution, it becomes a sociological phenomenon. As an institution, it will share similar characteristics with all other institutions.
An institution must grow in order to sustain itself. It needs fuel to exist and to grow. It draws that fuel (energy) from you and others that make up the institution. Listen, the organization will always demand more than you can give. It will deceive you into saying Yes all the time because, of course, it makes you think that without you, it will fail. It will chew you up, spit you out and draw in someone else, anyone else from whom it can suck energy. We are deceived , any of us, if we think we are indispensable, even to an organization that we have founded!
The false thinking that often happens is we start to put too much faith, confidence, and belief in the organization as though the institution is what matters. We begin to measure our effectiveness, our success, by whether or not the institution is growing. We primarily measure growth by income, or by increased membership or numbers as though size is God’s measurement of success. We know biblically it is not.
That mindset creeps in: “Well, look at how God is blessing us. We are growing!” We define blessing by more income that calls for bigger budgets. If we are growing, we think we are blessed. We tend to think if there is no growth, then He must not be with us!
That is just false theology.
In the Bible, the term success is only used a few times, and it is always used as something God gave. God was always the source of success.
Success was never dependent on people’s efforts or resources. Remember, God told the Israelites to ask the Egyptians for all that treasure before they left Egypt. Later, when it came time to construct the tabernacle, where did all the gold, cloth, and other things come from? That’s right, all that treasure the Egyptians thrust into the arms of the Israelites as they packed up to leave Egypt. God provided the resources for His house. Amazingly, there was more than enough to do the job with plenty left over.
Success, when achieved, was granted by God based on one’s faithfulness and obedience to His word – His commands – drawing on His resources to accomplish His focused purpose, not simply our plan or our marketing strategy or fund-raising savvy.
In God’s economy, less can be more, and usually is. Output (cost/benefit) is not simply a ratio of input, but also has an element of faith and accessing of Spiritual Resources that we can’t see. In God’s economy, He enables our resources to be multiplied (with impact and influence) beyond our input, beyond our resources, in ways we can’t imagine.
We must beware of false economies – that bigger is better, or more effective, or that growth means success, or growth is the primary sign of God’s blessings. It can be, make no mistake, but it takes spiritual discernment to know if it truly is or is not.
Don’t confuse size with impact and influence – activities with results. It is not just how much, but how faithful and obedient.
What is it God has given us to be faithful to – to what focus and priority must we be obedient?
Jesus’ pattern of faithful obedience had far greater impact and influence than we can imagine. The same is true for us. Faithful obedience rather than saying Yes to everything, rather than the size of our budget or how great the numbers, has a far greater impact than we can fathom.
Have you or your organization put too much emphasis on growth that may be driving a false association of God’s blessing with growth and size, and measured by income?
Take a moment to write down your response to this question. Pray over it. Put that piece of paper in your calendar a couple or three weeks in the future, then compare how your focus and views have changed after you pray through those weeks.
Be clear on how you measure success and effectiveness, both in yourself and in your organization. We need to be cautious about making growth, particularly concerning income, our primary measurement of success.
Let’s recognize we are often deceived. We allow our ego and pride to drive us, which is a false theology of leadership and false expectation of the Christian organization.
- What is God saying to you through this message?
- What one or two things has He laid on your heart to consider, confess, and repent of, or to start or stop doing?
- Take a moment and go to Him – capture these thoughts in your journal.
– Sam Voorhies