Not long ago I read the eulogy of a pastor-friend of mine. The eulogizer, another pastor, wrote something like this:
Pastor John Brown may not have had a large congregation. He may not have had a large impact in his congregation or his community, but numbers are not the measure of a man’s ministry. Instead, look at the hours spent in sermon preparation, the many nights he spent beside a dying saint’s bedside, and the many people he served with godly counsel.
As I read, I shook my head in disbelief. He wrote that ministry isn’t about numbers, but here are some numbers that are important. Then I laughed. What silliness from this pastor.
Laughter turned to anger at the focus of the eulogizer for demeaning the pastor and the Lord who called him. Soon, I cried.
What is the measure of ministry? You don’t have to be a pastor to be a minister. In fact, the New Testament calls every single believer to the work of ministry (Ephesians 4:11-12), though only a few are called be a pastor.
If you’ve ever held a job, your employer gave you a list of duties. How do you know if you have been a good and faithful employee? Isn’t it based on your fulfillment of the duties given to you? So it is with the pastorate and the ministry of each believer.
Rather than concern ourselves with the number of miles run, the number of sermons written, the number of people saved, or the size of a congregation, we must address God’s call and our faithfulness to Him. My ministry is not the same as yours, nor is yours the same as the person you sit next to on Sunday morning. We must each be careful to run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus (Hebrews 12:1, 2). Run the race course the Saviour has set before you, then you will be called a good and faithful servant of the Lord.