Over the last two weeks I’ve been struck by how easy it is for us as leaders to be sidetracked or trapped in our thinking. Looking back over the last two weeks I think of these ways we can trap ourselves, maybe you haven’t found yourself there lately, but I think it’s worth noting some common traps out there:

There’s the trap of comparison; we’re often tempted to compare ourselves, and our ministries, to others, even though that’s a game that no one wins. We compare and feel sorry for ourselves if we perceive someone to have it better than we do. We compare attendance, giving, participation, gadgets, buildings, salaries, staff, talent, and more. You know you’ve done that at some point. Then maybe you feel sorry for yourself or you go the other way and judge them and their motives to make yourself feel better. We’ve all done that at some point, but either way, that’s a trap that keeps us from walking in what God has called us to do.  You’re not that person. You’re not serving in that ministry. God has called you to be a faithful servant where He has you. In the end we will all stand before God and give account for what we did with what we had not what we didn’t do with what we didn’t have. Be faithful with what He has given you!

Then there’s the trap of offense. It seems that we live in a world where people get offended over everything, like superbowl ads that don’t fit into their narrow worldview. As leaders we can also begin to act like the world when we become offended when our lives don’t fit into our preconceived ideas of what they should be like. Pastor Tom Flaherty’s post last week was a strong encouragement not be offended when, like John the Baptist or Elijah, things don’t go the way we had planned.  Maybe you feel like you haven’t gotten the opportunities in ministry that you deserve or maybe you’ve faced unforeseen difficulties in life or ministry and a subtle resentment has crept in against God or against others who caused that pain. Dr. Warren Heckman shared great insight last week about the theology of suffering and how to face suffering without becoming offended.

There certainly are other things that can trap us in our lives and ministries and keep us from being who God has called us to be and doing what He has called us to do, but I think these are worth thinking about today. I really want to encourage you, as God’s been encouraging me, to check your life to see if you have fallen into these two traps lately.  Don’t be trapped by comparison or offense in your life and ministry; do what God has called YOU to do and live your life unto Him. After all, He’s the one whom we’re serving!

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