We all love success and many of us fear failure. We’ve come to believe that we should leave a notable mark on the world—even save the world. Our significance depends on it. A life of non-achievement is a wasted life.
Consequently, we sign up for all the latest conferences, seminars, and workshops. We take careful notes, buy all the resources, and return home to apply the latest trends to our churches.
This rampant mentality often undermines the work of Christ among us. Surely we circumvent the Lord’s intentions when we’re looking for silver bullets, sure-fire methods, and guaranteed programs more than the leading of the Holy Spirit.
Our infatuation with importing and exporting “what works” yields at least two outcomes.
The first outcome is what some people have described as “the Moses Syndrome.” At one point the Lord instructed Moses to strike a rock that water might pour forth and refresh the thirsty people of Israel (Exodus 17:6). Later, when the Lord instructed Moses to speak to the rock to get the same result, Moses struck it instead (Numbers 20:8, 11). It is, after all, what “worked” the first time. The water came, but Moses forfeited his place in the Promised Land for this act of willfulness.
Do we walk the same path when we grope for “what works” in other churches, and fail to seek Christ instead?
The second outcome is far more subtle. Those who preach the ideas, provide the resources, and present the models for sure success sometimes find themselves forced to embellish their stories in order to impress their audiences. They compromise their integrity in order to sustain an image. After all, experts ought not have chinks in their armor.
I don’t propose that we cancel all events where ideas get shared and products get sold. Not at all. But when we hunger for success more than we hunger for the Spirit, when we leap at human promises more than we listen to Jesus, when we idolize winning more than hearing the Father, we follow the path of Moses. And there are always spiritual consequences.
Instead, Jesus invites us to come to Him before we travel to others, to trust Him more than the latest fads and trends, to choose obedience rather than chase significance. And we will be free.