I have retreated back to my seat at an all day Muslim evangelism conference, escaping the crush of people outside. I needed a moment of clarity before writing these thoughts.
I sat outside on the steps, plate of food in one hand, bottle of water in the other. As I ate my chapati and stew, I began to overhear conversations around me.
“We have many missionaries. Many! So many, and we are converting Muslims all the time.”
“I attended school in London, and have a Masters from…”
“I’ve planted three churches, and the church I’m at now is getting so big, I am looking for a bigger building.”
All of these came unsolicited. No one asked, “Where did you go to school?” or “Are you doing work among Muslims?” These self-congratulatory statements came as introductions.
Why do we do this? I have been to pastor’s conferences where this happens as well, everyone sizing up each other, trying to find where they are on the totem pole.
What have we ever done apart from Christ? Nothing. Well, let me change that. What have we ever done that has eternal consequence apart from Christ? Nothing.
So what should we boast about? Christ. What Christ has done, what Christ is doing, what Christ will do.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NIV)
Let me let you in on a little secret: ESPN doesn’t track Pastoral Stats. One point for a new member, five for a new convert. Two points for every worship leader you have, one additional point for every speaker and amp you have. No, there is no heavenly standings board. We don’t have to worry about how many conversions we are behind the leader.
When we do work for Christ, we do nothing, Christ does all. He gives us the desire to serve Him, He gives us the strength to serve Him, He should be the one to receive the glory for what is done.
I ended up silently eating my food, trying to listen for anything about Christ. But there was none. Oh, there were plenty of people taking about Church, ministry, evangelism, but nothing about Christ.
And that is tragic.