It’s Not About You
After a particularly difficult marriage counseling session early in my first year of ministry, I called a mentor to debrief and decompress. He patiently heard me out and then offered a convicting assessment: “It sounds as if you’re more concerned about being right than you are about the couple you are counseling.” I knew immediately that he was right, but I made a mild protest and changed the subject. I didn’t want to face that truth about myself. It’s still hard to face the facts, but I can see now that in many different areas of my ministry, the focus has shifted from selfless service to selfish gain. It’s all about me.
I’m not sure you could notice, looking in from the outside. It’s not as if I’m some kind of Elmer Gantrylike character on the prowl. The shift in emphasis is subtle: Did I really connect in my sermon? Did I spend enough time pursuing visitors? Did I give the right advice to the parents of a troubled teen? If I had done something different, would the result have been better? Slowly but surely, the terms of evaluating my ministry have become highly self-referential.