Saturday, September 17, 2011

Twitter-Infused Envy?

I don’t tweet much, except for a few friends and my Dad.  But I do like to read stuff on twitter.  There are a lot of inspirational people to follow and it’s an easy way to read articles from authors I like in one place.

One of my favorite people that I follow is Beth Moore.  There is no doubt that she is a gifted Bible teacher.  Her Bible studies have been life changing for me.  But her tweets are so cute.  Often times they are encouraging. Many of them focus on silly things at the ministry or her grandchildren.  None of them are self-focused at all. 

She’s been tweeting about a new church her daughter and son-in-law are planting.  She and her husband are attending there.  My first reaction when I read that was an ugly feeling of…was it envy? 

I mean, my husband and I planted a church 13 years ago.  We love it here and are so thankful for what God has done in our church.  For sure, it isn’t because of us in anyway.  We were 22 years old when we started, we had no idea what we were doing.  But, truth be told,

It’s been a hard road.  We grow, then shrink and repeat.  People leave.  It hurts.  We can’t compete with the bigger churches around us as far as programs and services.  We are limited by not having a building and tight finances.

As I was reading the tweets about this new church I thought,

“Wow, it must be nice to have a mom and attender that has thousands of followers to tweet to.” 

“I’m sure they’ll have no problem growing and thriving.” 

“They’ll probably build a huge building in 6 months.”

All the while, we struggle to put enough money together to buy a used sound system.  It doesn’t seem fair.  It seems so easy for some people.

Just as soon as those thoughts entered my heart, God graciously got a hold of me.  He brought a lot of truth to my wandering heart.  I have learned and know that there is no room for those kind of thoughts in ministry or Christian life.  We’re all in this together, working for the same prize. 

“For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.”

2 Corinthians 4:5

By feeling that way, I am not trusting Jesus.  Or that He is in control of all things.  This is HIS church, not mine.  It’s His plan to grow or shrink a church.  Our job is to be faithful to what He has called us to do.

As we’ve grown close to others in ministry around us, it’s shown me that we all have the same hurts and pressures.  It’s never easy.  You can’t please everyone.  But we’re all on the same team. 

It’s possible that supporting others in ministry might be one of our biggest callings.  If we can comfort each other and encourage one another to persevere, then the work of God can march on.  If we are envious and competing against one another, then Satan wins.

There was a day in church a few years ago that was pure torture for me.  Mike didn’t happen to be there.  But another Pastor and his wife was.  And having them there, just there to be with me and understand made a huge difference in my life and ultimately the outcome of our ministry.  I don’t think I’m being overly dramatic about that.

Honestly, I think God was so good to us by making our church planting experience a hard road.  I can’t imagine the issues of pride I would have had we grown super fast or had things “easier”.  And I’ve got enough issues as it is.

So, I’m praying for this new fellowship in Texas.  For God to be with them and do what He wills through them.  The same thing I’m praying for our little fellowship. 

This passage from Psalm 115:1 is a great reminder to me when I am tempted to feel “christian” envy:

Not to us, LORD, not to us 
  but to your name be the glory,
   because of your love and faithfulness.

I think we all have to check our hearts on envy.  Whether it involved envy of people’s jobs, kids, houses or so called “easy” life.  It’s all in God’s hands and plans.  We just need to be faithful. 

And once I own the fact that it’s not about me or what I want, it’s a privilege to pray for and support those around me.  Whether I know them in real life, or just through a few little tweets.



Mrs. H said...

Thank you for the hard, honest look at your own response to another's blessing. Vocational ministry IS a long, sometimes (seemingly) fruitless road at times. Stay faithful and just take each morning of new mercies at a time! Hang in there...

Lesley A Wyman said...

You know, there is a "Beth Moore" shining right out of you Miss Michelle, I love to read your blog. Your writing is inspirational, honest, funny, creative and beautiful. I am almost "jealous"...but instead I pray for your ministry at home and in your community. God is glorified through the work you are allowing Him to do through you....March ON, my sister.

Shan in Japan said...

Ah, Michelle, I am with you! I am so good at making excuses for why our little church plant is still so little. I can easily be envious of what others have, are doing, etc at their church plants. Thank you for the reminder that we are all in this together! We all have the same goal. Yes, God is good, His timing is perfect, and He does have a plan. Sometimes I forget.