Some people have large ministry platforms. They serve in large churches and have a large social media following. God bless them, especially those who steward this responsibility well with humility and godliness. God has always given some within the church an unusual scope of influence.
But most of us are foot soldiers. We don’t have a large following, and we’ll never be well known. Some of us won’t even be particularly appreciated among those we serve.
No matter. The resurrection changes ministry math.
Paul’s Ministry Math
In the world’s eyes, large ministry equals ministry success. At the end of a section explaining the resurrection of Jesus, Paul upends this equation with these words: “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58).
What’s Paul’s logic?
Because of Jesus’ resurrection, we can be assured of our own resurrection too. Our view of eternity should shape the way we live now. We’re not living for the next quarter or the next year; we’re living for eternity.
We can breathe easy. Jesus has already won the victory. “We can quit playing the game of winning. We can start living life as if we have already won (because we have)”, writes Stephen Um. When we serve God, we’re giving ourselves to what has eternal value. We can live and serve with confidence in the future no matter how things seem now.
Because death is swallowed up in victory, be steadfast, immovable, “and work your fanny off for Christ and his kingdom” (John Piper). Your work will be rewarded for eternity.
A solid view of Christ’s work and our future means everything we do for God right now matters.
Your Ministry Matters
In other words, because of the resurrection, your ministry matters. Paul doesn’t qualify how big your ministry has to be before it matters. He simply says that it does, so get at it.
Give it your all. It doesn’t matter how big or small your work is. Who knows what God will do through your faithfulness? Pray. Pastor the people God has given you. Love them. You don’t know what God is doing through your efforts as you serve him.
Don’t measure results prematurely. Amazon has a leadership principle describing what it expects from its leaders: “They think long term and don’t sacrifice long-term value for short-term results.” If this is true of Amazon, how much more true should this be for us?
Don’t think that someone else’s ministry matters because it’s bigger, and yours doesn’t. The resurrection changes all of that. Nothing that’s done for the Lord will be wasted. Praise God for those who have larger ministry platforms, but don’t envy them. You wouldn’t want that much responsibility. Be faithful with whatever God has given you.
And you will receive your reward. “Shrink not, for the crown is just within your reach,” preached Spurgeon. “Never think of diminishing your service, rather increase it, for the reward is close at hand.”
Big church? Small church? It doesn’t matter. We’re not in charge of the size of our ministries, but we’re responsible to stay faithful and give it our all. “Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”