Luke 4:42-43 – How Jesus Viewed Ministry Success
And when it was day, he departed and went into a desolate place. And the people sought him and came to him, and would have kept him from leaving them, but he said to them, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.” (Luke 4:42-43 ESV)
Ministry success is easily attributable to Jesus. He captivated thousands because he taught “as one with authority” (Mark 1:22). He was like no one they had ever heard. He would preach to thousands, heal the sick, and spend time with the untouchables. At one point, his renown was so great that people tried to make him king by force (John 6:15). Jesus could have stayed where he was and regularly had large crowds gather in his presence. But what did Jesus do with this “ministry success?” Did he set up headquarters, hang up signs, pass out flyers, and increase seating capacity? Did he stay with the people begging him to remain and bask in their adoration? Absolutely not. That’s not how Jesus defined ministry success.
Real Ministry Success
Jesus focused only on his God ordained purpose: to teach the truth. Jesus says this in passages like John 18:37 and Mark 1:35–39, as well. Jesus didn’t look to the crowds as proof of his success in ministry. He didn’t pull his identity from people flocking to hear, see, and touch him. He did and said only what the Father led him to do (John 5:19). It can be tempting to look at success in ministry as a numbers game. The more people that come to our church, the more successful we are in the kingdom. Jesus is a great example for what success looks like as his followers. Jesus teaches us that success is not merely defined by popularity or crowds, but by obedience to God and his purpose for our lives. Simply put, by faithfully following Jesus himself.
But don’t misunderstand me. I don’t define faithfulness as merely plodding along, barely making a ripple for the Kingdom of God……not even close! What’s the root word in faithfulness? Faith! Jesus didn’t simply bumble along. He had absolute faith in what the Father had called him to do. So much faith that he bet his entire life on it.
To faithfully pursue God’s purpose means two things: 1.To desire his will more than your own glory. 2.To believe he will accomplish his mission in you and through you.
Are You Pursuing God’s Mission?
So, are you pursuing God’s mission for you? Your mission field might be:
- Your family,
- Your workplace,
- Your school,
- Your neighborhood,
- Or anywhere else. Define your mission field. Refine your measurement of ministry success. And above all, have faith God always accomplishes his will.