2 Corinthians 12; Mark 16; Isaiah 11; Psalm 44; Leviticus 13-14
We’ve moved a lot over the past 35 years. It’s always exciting to find new places and meet new people. But there is one constant in every move. There is always a specific place in the state that dominates everyone else. The focus on these areas is almost always viewed with eye rolls outside of the community.
Two examples of this are Chicago and Seattle.
When people think about the states of Washington and Illinois, the first thought is the two major cities. Downstaters and folks from the Eastern half of Washington feel neglected because of all the attention given to the major cities.
This sometimes breeds contempt from people outside of those communities.
This sometimes happens within the church. There can be a viewpoint that bigger is better. A charismatic Pastor with a large Sunday attendance can sometimes be viewed as “more successful” than a small rural church with less than 100 people.
I remember one large church in the Chicago area that would host conferences to explain to people that particular church methods for success. You could almost hear the eyes rolling in people’s heads.
Paul has been on a roll talking about this type of behavior in 2 Corinthians 11 and 12. He winds it up in chapter 12 by saying, “when I am weak, then I am strong.”
I think Paul is saying that, while the number of people coming to Church on Sunday has some value, God puts each of us in a ministry for a purpose. God definitely wants us to proclaim the Gospel to as many people as possible. However, that doesn’t make a church with thousands of people attending each week more effective than a small church with less than fifty attending on a given Sunday, a bible study with less than 10, or a blogger with a following of 5.
God has given each of us a purpose and a ministry. In the specific context of our ministries, it is essential to remember that success is measured not by external agencies or numbers, it is judged by God. We are the vessels that the Holy Spirit uses. We are successful when we are faithful to what God is asking you and me to do.