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How to Fight Jealousy in Ministry

Earlier this month I attended the WorshipGod conference hosted by Bob Kauflin. Being around Bob for a few days reminded me how thankful I am for him and others like him who are shaping the way many of our churches think theologically about worship. Bob has played an immeasurable role in my life. From hearing him teach about the task of the worship leader to seeing him wrestle with my kids, I’ve learned from both his words and his example. I celebrate the call of God on Bob’s life, and am thankful he’s provided a model of worship leadership from which I glean so much.

When you see that God is greatly using others in ministry, do you rejoice? Thinking through the last 19 years of leading worship, I would have often replied “No” to this question. My regular response would have been to either harbor jealousy in my heart or try to become a carbon copy of the men I admired. Neither path is wise. For us to aim to imitate men like Bob is wise and biblical. But for us to try to be other leaders, or become jealous of the gifts God has given them, is miscalculated and sinful.

As those who have been entrusted with any platform of worship ministry, we must remember how much each of us have been given in Christ. Every gift we’ve received is God’s grace to us—for his glory and for the good of his people. We haven’t been called to jealousy or comparison, but to thankfulness to the One who has enabled some men that help shape the worship of his church.

So when we see God greatly using others in ministry, how should we respond? Here are three ways.

1. Praise God for the gifts he has given others.

God gifts people to glorify himself (Matt. 5:16). It brings him great joy to distribute many different gifts to his bride. To some he gives gifts of preaching or teaching; to others gifts of service or administration. Whatever gift the Lord has given you as his child, rejoice and be grateful. Praising him for the gifts he’s given others cultivates an environment of humility.

2. Be edified by the gifts God has given others.

God gifts people to edify his church (Eph. 4:7-13). The reason we’ve been given gifts is to build one another up in our faith. It’s through exercising our gifts that we see evidences of grace and are encouraged in our growth in godliness. Perhaps the gifts God has given you aren’t as public or as wide-reaching as others. Consider how to be faithful where you are with what God has entrusted to you. Learn from those who have gone before you, and from those faithfully influencing the church today. Failure to learn from others is a source of deep pride. As the 19th-century Baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon wisely said, “He who will not use the thoughts of other men’s brains, proves that he has no brains of his own.”

3. Pray for those God is using to shape the church.

Pray for those who are given a voice of leadership (1 Thess. 5:25). Just as you pray for your pastors and deacons, pray for those who are leading with a broad scope of influence. Praying for those by whom you’re blessed is a gift to them in return for the deposit they’ve made in your life. Pray that those with a platform of leadership remain nourished by God’s Word, filled with God’s Spirit, and protected from the work of the enemy (John 17:15).

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