People in the ministry are in the spotlight. You don’t have to like it. You don’t have to agree. But it’s true. There I said it, said it like it’s set in stone. Even though ministry leaders and volunteers at times feel lonely and ignored (and are sometimes actually ignored), there’s always at least 1 set of eyes looking at them. Always. Like God for example! And people too, like the people we serve. That’s what I mean by being in the spotlight. Someone’s looking at us.
And we can say, like many people say, that we don’t care what other people think. That we should not care because the only one that matters is God. People are gonna think what they’re gonna think. All that matters is that we’re right with God.
True, all that will ultimately matter is our relationship with God. But it’s not that simple. “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold” (Proverbs 22:1). We can’t completely disregard what others think of us because what they think of us can either help us bring them closer to God or the opposite.
Paul said, “Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible” (1 Corinthian 9:19). Paul was born free as a citizen of Rome. But he acted like a slave to many people in order to win them. In other words, he served people for the ministry. He didn’t lord over them his citizenship or status or authority or leadership.
Paul was not a doormat. In one way, he didn’t care what people think except on the matters that dealt with their faith. On the things that mattered, he stood strong. He even called people out on it. But on the other hand, he also became a Jew to the Jews and a Gentile to the Gentiles. What people thought mattered. How he related to people mattered. It’s like what John C. Maxwell said, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
Being in the ministry means we are in a position of leadership and authority, like Paul. But it’s not a permission slip to do what we want, to use our freedom in any which way (Galatians 5:13).
However, we need to remember that we’re not perfect. We’re going to make mistakes, and some of those mistakes will be made in the spotlight, in front of other people. My hope is that we’re all surrounded by a loving, understanding, and supportive community of family, friends, and other people in the ministry.
Being in the spotlight can be a hard position to be in. We’re balancing a lot of things. We may be struggling with some things, but have to strong for other people. We are serving but also have to lead, sometimes making tough decisions. But also like Paul said, we can keep our eyes on Jesus. Keep going even when the spotlight is blinding or when it’s dim. When only God sees our hard work or when a thousand set of eyes are scrutinizing our every move, keep going.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” Galatians 6:9.