Don’t be threatened by someone else’s talents, gifts, or abilities.
There is a downfall that often plagues people in leadership: other people’s successes. I’ve met plenty of people who are threatened by another person’s success in their same field of work. Pastors can be threatened by another pastor’s church growth. Bible study leaders threatened by some of their students choosing to join a different group. Business owners feeling cheated when another company excels in their same field.
It’s not a contest, friends.
The fact that you’re threatened says a few things about you. 1) you aren’t secure in who God made you to be because you’re basing your success on how you measure up to someone else. 2) you can’t take joy in someone else’s victories…which simply put, means you’re jealous. 3) you’ve mistakenly made this a contest versus a calling.
Sorry if those statements stepped on your toes. Believe me, friend, I’ve looked at myself in the mirror before and said these same things. When my soul turned green because it was someone else’s day in the spotlight. Are you jealous of them? Are you wishing you had their job promotion? Their ministry platform? Or maybe you can’t take joy in a friend’s engagement because you were hoping for a ring and a new name. Green doesn’t suit you, friend. You were made to enjoy YOUR STORY. Your platform (no matter how small). Your current position in your company. Your numbers…even if they are few.
In fact, we can learn from each other. Label it cross-training, if it helps you. Here’s two examples: I have a friend who does Epicure as a small side business like I do. We have some of the same goals but aren’t in the same downline. Translated, our sales don’t benefit each other in any way and we could infringe upon each other’s territory. However, we regularly talk about Epicure, what we are doing that works and what new products we like, etc. We have some of the same friends but don’t feel threatened by each other successes. We know that because we love each other, her success is mine and visa versa. We get to take joy in each other’s wins and cheer each other up when we lose. Good friends do that. We can learn from each other because it’s not a competition.
In prison ministry, I’ve seen this same principle in action. I’ve been in prisons where I cross paths with other volunteers either traveling or from the area. Our programs may be different, but they both teach the Bible and about JESUS and about redemption. I don’t waste any time trying to make it a contest. I ask about them. Their families. Their stories. I asked about their programs. I learn from how they do things. I cheer them on and encourage them. I THANK them for what they do. Cause here’s the honest truth, it’s not a contest. It’s about truth and that makes us teammates in the grand scheme of life.
Truth is found in Jesus. In His House. At His Feet. And at the end of the day you can bolt all the other doors that lead others to Him or you can wave to those going into other doors and hold yours open wide. You can be a door bolter and locker. Or you can be a door holder.
Too many people in the Christian world make the Great Commission a contest of who can bring the most or who has the best ratings or who can have the biggest following. Hear me friends, God doesn’t work on our success scale. He is about faithful servants who leave everything on the field for whatever is in their corner. That goes for you, Mama- with toddlers and school lunches to pack and hearts to teach and soccer practice to drive to. You there, youth group leader with just a handful of kids and wishing your walls were busting at the seams. I’m talking about you. The one teaching 7th grade Sunday school and wondering if they’re even getting it.
Don’t measure your success in numbers. Fruit is what counts. Jesus had a handful of disciples that turned the world upside down. It doesn’t have to be record attendance or flowery words or likes on social media.
What matters is THEY GET TO JESUS.
How dare we run someone else’s ministry down because of our gross jealousy or greedy hearts? How dare we make this about our egos instead of His mission?
It’s not about you. It’s about Jesus.
If my friends in prison need a program I don’t offer but someone else does, I encourage them. I give them freedom to glean from Jesus in various ways. I don’t have it all. I just have Jesus.
I recently was talking with my mom about something I had previously shared with my mentor, but not her. I wondered if it would be hard or hurtful to her that I had went to someone else for help before calling her. Her answer showed tremendous maturity and Biblical wisdom. She said- “Faith, your strongest suit is that you don’t have to run to me for everything. You have other strong voices of truth that you can pull from when you have a need. I’m not threatened by that. I grateful for it.”
We see this truth in Scripture. Check out Mark 9:38-41…
“John said to Him, “Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in Your name, and we tried to stop him because he wasn’t following us.” “Don’t stop him,” said Jesus, “because there is a no one who will perform a miracle in My name who can soon afterward speak evil of Me. For whoever is not against us is for us. And whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because of My name, since you belong to the Messiah — I assure you: He will never lose his reward.” (HCSB)
We are on the same team. Not opposing forces clashing to get the most players. Not people of the world, watching social media score boards and counting numbers as if they are our identity. We are just door holders. All the same. Pointing to the One Who is worthy of all praise. The One Who gives us Hope and true healing. Just propping open the door we’ve been given and showing people the way to Jesus.
It’s not a contest, friends. It’s a calling. Be faithful with it and let God do the rest.