Have you ever wanted something that another woman had? I certainly have. I’ve been guilty of wanting their bigger houses, cars with bucket seats, and fashionable clothes. At some point, we’ve probably all wanted what another woman has. There are lots of life areas in which we become jealous and envious of one another, but there’s one we don’t often talk about.
Have you ever been jealous of someone else’s ministry? Have you ever found yourself questioning why God seemed to be doing amazing things through someone else and not through you? Have you ever wondered why it seems someone else’s ministry is thriving and yours is struggling?
I’ve been there. It’s not something I’m proud to admit or want to shout from the rooftops, but the ugly monster of ministry jealously has found me in a weak moment. I’ve wanted the same success, the blog followers, or even the confidence that so many other ministry leaders seem to have. As I’ve examined my own heart more, I’ve realized a few things about ministry jealously and I would like to offer you some encouragement today if you find yourself in a similar place.
“Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.”
Galatians 5:26 (NLT)
Paul’s words carry weight in his letter to the churches in Galatia. It’s human nature to become jealous of others at times. But it can get rocky when we start becoming jealous of other people’s ministries.
We find ourselves questioning God and asking Him things like, why are you doing good things through her and not me? Sweet friend, let me speak this truth to you. Just because God is doing amazing things through someone else doesn’t mean He won’t do them through you too.
God fully desires for us to accomplish His work and He works through those that are obedient to Him and to the furthering of His kingdom. Sometimes what’s needed isn’t more success on our end, it’s a heart examination and a change of perspective. It’s not that God doesn’t want to do great things through you, He absolutely does. But sometimes, and this is the hard part, it’s simply not your time. Perhaps someone else’s ministry has been groomed for this exact time to fulfill a Kingdom purpose.
Ministry is very hard work. It involves a lot of time, effort, and waiting. We don’t always get to see the fruits of our labor up front. Sometimes it takes time to see growth and change through our ministries.
Often what we are seeing in other people’s ministries is the result of a long period of waiting. We see the outward appearance and the success they’re having or the high attendance at their meetings, even the number of blog followers they have, and we think to ourselves, I want that.
But what we’ve missed is their period of waiting to bear their fruit. We see the success they are having, but we don’t always see the burden they have carried for so long to make it that way. We don’t see the tears they’ve cried from rejection or hear the prayers they’ve prayed in desperation. We don’t see the time they’ve spent agonizing over the small details. We see their success and often we assume it’s been easy for them.
Take women like Lysa TerKurst, Beth Moore, Christine Caine, and Lisa Bevere. It’s easy to see them on a stage now, bringing The Gospel to life for thousands of women through events, books, and Bible studies and assume that ministry is easy for them because of the success they’ve had.
But what we don’t see is how each of those women built their ministries from the ground up. Proverbs 31 Ministries didn’t start out as a global organization that reaches hundreds of thousands of women each year, it started as a local community newsletter. Because of the obedience and faith of the women behind it, God grew it in mighty ways.
We all have to start somewhere and build upon the ministry in which we wish to grow. As hard as it is, we have to keep our hearts in check too. If we are more worried about blog followers, group attendance and social media likes, then our focus is not on God. When we start focusing on comparing ourselves to each other more than we’re focusing on God, then we’re in the wrong. We need to shift our focus and stop comparing ourselves to one another. We each have special gifts, talents, and abilities that God will use to accomplish His works.
He has gifted each of us with a ministry. For some of us, that will mean speaking to groups of women and perhaps having a larger platform to share The Gospel. For some, it will look like volunteering every week at a local homeless shelter, serving meals, and loving on those that desperately need support. Some of us will write or sing or encourage others through cards. Not one more important or more influential than the other.
Every ministry counts and every woman has a place in The Kingdom.
Don’t believe Satan’s lies that we are in competition for God. God is not pitting us against one another to see who can come up with the most successful ministry. We do that on our own, because for some reason we believe the enemy’s lies that there isn’t room enough for all of our ministries. That is a lie straight from the pit of Hell, so let’s send it back there.
Instead of being jealous or envious of our fellow sisters work and ministries, let’s build up one another (1 Thessalonians 5:11). The more time we spend time tearing each other down, the less time we spend advancing the Kingdom of God.
Don’t let jealously get in the way of your ministry. Reach out to your sisters in Christ and ask them if you can learn from them. I have several friends of mine who are greatly knowledgeable in the areas of writing and speaking ministries. Instead of being jealous of what they’ve built, I’ve asked them to mentor me and to help me grow. You’ll be surprised at how many ministry leaders will want to help you learn from their successes and failures.
As Paul wrote in Galatians 5:26, we must be led by the Spirit. We can’t let jealously affect the Kingdom work we want to do. We must be Spirit-led and support one another. We must help each other grow so that God can continue His work in us until our day of completion (Romans 8:28).