When I look at the church, at least the streams of it with which I’m most familiar, I see plenty of signs that we have been buying into the world’s wisdom around work. Unfortunately, this “wisdom” often leads us straight to great some disappointments. My generation produced the workaholic pastors who built megachurches, and the next generation of church leadership has been marked by the celebrities and superstars with their branded ministry platforms. However, as many of these leaders have failed morally, crashed due to stress or anxiety, or even committed suicide, the conversation around “ministry burnout” has picked up steam.
When it comes to church attenders, many of them have heard a message similar to “You can be anything you want to be and be great at it,” which sounds like, “You’re called to dream big, do great things, and change the world for God.”
While this message isn’t wrong in principle, it seems that many believers have interpreted it through the wider culture’s definitions of what it means to do something “great” and “change the world.” This leads many of them to see becoming a spiritual rock star, achieving financial success, and building a social media platform as the primary means of influencing culture and advancing the kingdom of God.
In short, much of the church is struggling in the same way the world is—not necessarily because we are wanting wrong things, but because we are not living out God’s wisdom for how to get the good things He wants us to have. The desires for security, significance, achievement, financial success, excellence, and fulfillment are all core to who He designed and called us to be. This is why, when Jesus’ disciples fell into an argument over which of them was the greatest, He didn’t rebuke them but showed them God’s definition of and path to greatness:
“The kings and men of authority in this world rule oppressively over their subjects, claiming that they do it for the good of the people. They are obsessed with how others see them. But this is not your calling. You will lead by a different model. The greatest one among you will live as one called to serve others without honor. The greatest honor and authority is reserved for the one who has a servant heart. The leaders who are served are the most important in your eyes, but in the kingdom, it is the servants who lead. Am I not here with you as one who serves you?” (Luke 22:25-27, TPT)
As followers of Jesus, we are called to recognize that the world’s strategy for pursuing our core needs and desires will always diverge from God’s strategy for our lives, and that at the deepest level, this is the source of all our frustration, disappointment, and disillusionment. The only path to true passion, success, and fulfillment lies in discovering how to work, rest, and live according to our Father’s design.
I would love to hear from you below! What are some of the differences. you have noticed between the wisdom of the world and. the wisdom of God?