They couldn’t have been more wrong.
They thought they were all that and a bag of chips because they did well on a task they’d been given. They figured the Boss would be all over them with praise.
They were walking on clouds.
But they missed it by a mile because they bought into the lie that their value hinged on their production. Here’s the story:
1 After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go. 2 And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. 3 Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves.
17 The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” 18 And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. 20 Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:1-20)
What Jesus said about self-worth
Jesus taught his disciples an important lesson about the foolishness of merit based self-worth.
He warned of the danger inherent in taking pride in our accomplishments, even in spectacular ministry success. Rather, he admonishes, we should take joy and find confidence in what he has done for us. That’s the point of the story.
The pastor’s self-worth is based on grace, not merit
Turnaround pastors must be confident in who they are: bearers of the divine image, redeemed with the incalculably precious blood of Christ, royal treasure Jesus distributes freely to his Church. We dare not succumb to the temptation to curry favor with others to satisfy a need to be liked.[i] Neither dare we find our worth in our accomplishments.
It’s a lesson every pastor who feels good when the church does well but feels bad when it doesn’t needs to learn.
If your pride and sense of self-worth are in any way connected to how your church is doing, you’re a fool if you don’t disconnect your identity from your ministry.
[i] Galatians 1:10, Ephesians 6:6, 1 Thessalonians 2:4.