Church Jealousy

John 3:22-26 (NIV)

After this, Jesus and his disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where he spent some time with them, and baptized. 23 Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were coming and being baptized. 24 (This was before John was put in prison.) 25 An argument developed between some of John’s disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing. 26 They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about—look, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.”

Church jealousy is never a pretty thing. As a pastor, I can tell you that it is a very real thing. After Jesus’ late-night conversation with Nicodemus, Jesus and His disciples went out into the wilderness and were baptizing people. Jealousy arose among John’s followers because more people were going to Jesus than John.
Leaders and pastors are constantly obsessing over numbers. We are comparing and contrasting the size of our churches with others. We’re missing the point. Did it matter if people were going to John to be baptized or to Jesus to be baptized? Not in the least! The important thing is that people were repenting of their sins and turning to God! Does it matter if XYZ church has 100 members and ABC church has 1000? Not at all! God does not play favorites. The most important thing is that people for whom Christ died are coming to faith in Christ in order to be transformed by Him. What is the measure of success? Is it a larger building or a bigger budget or more bodies in the seats? Or is faithfulness more important than success. A church of 200 may be more faithful to Christ’s mission than a church of 20,000. Drawing a crowd doesn’t necessarily reflect lives being changed.
I want the church to be successful in reaching more people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. More than that, I want the church to be faithful in presenting the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As a pastor, I believe that God’s view of success is based more on my faithfully answering my call on a daily basis than it is on someone’s definition of success.
PRAYER: Father, help Your church to be faithful to the mission for which Christ died. Fill Your people with the Holy Spirit and passion for sharing the Gospel. We ask that You would help us to overcome jealousy and envy. May we rejoice as the angels rejoice whenever someone comes to saving faith in Jesus. Amen.

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