Jeff Bartell

A "bottom line" kind of guy

Success, Significance or Surrender?

A former pastor, after reading the book “Halftime” by Bob Buford, told me that he had pursued success for the first half of his ministry and now he wants to be significant.  Now, I must say that the idea of a pastor pursuing success (rather than significance) in many years of ministry, although not uncommon, is a bit unnerving.  Nevertheless, I rejoice with this brother that he finally landed on the goal of significance.

When I heard that, it was before I had read the book (a good book, by the way), and it made me think.  I have given 14 years of my life in service to the Lord in Albania and I am pretty sure that I have been pursuing significance over success all along.  The more I pondered that thought; it occurred to me that I too have gone through a transition.  In my case, I had pursued significance and now all I want to be is surrendered, obedient, pleasing to the Lord every minute of every day.  (That’s a big goal – one I consistently fail at.  Yet, still, it is the goal.)

I realize that it comes as no surprise that pastors, like everyone else, get covered up with work and sometime overwhelmed by the volume of things that need to get done.  At times it’s hard to make sense of all the demands that come to a local pastor.  I’ve been feeling that way lately, and thankfully, have been reminded of the “Halftime” discussion and my ultimate goal of daily surrender.

Here’s the idea:  just obey the Lord every day.  Don’t blow it.  Take what comes to you and respond in a way that would be pleasing to Him.  Try not to sweat the small stuff.  Do your best and sleep well at night.  Get up tomorrow and, as the shampoo bottle instructs, “rinse and repeat!”

This focus helps me deal with adversities, expected or otherwise.  It helps me keep my cool when I’m in the storm.  It also relieves me of the associated stress that I somehow must “perform” properly to give the help needed at any given moment.  Ultimately, my life doesn’t matter.  I am crucified with Christ.  I am bought with a price.  My life is not my own anymore.  I am surrendered.

Lord, use me as You see fit today.  I’ll try to not blow it.

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Jeff,

All is well w/ me and the family and seems like all is well on your end. Would be a pleasure to catch up. My phone # is 516-708-6369. Hope to speak soon.

Kenny Morgan

 
 

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