Success is Great

Article by: Bridgehaven Team

Counselors Reflect on Dangerous Calling by Paul Tripp
A Series to Care for the Care Takers of God’s People

“Without knowing that I was doing it, I took God’s faithfulness to me, to his people, to the work of his kingdom, to his plan of redemption, and to his church as an endorsement of me.”


It feels great to succeed.  This is what you went to seminary for, right?  Making a difference in the world for the cause of Christ is thrilling.  This is what God has been preparing you for all these years and now your faithfulness to his call is paying off.  The challenge can be intimidating and make one nervous, but when you see things happen it can take the edge off and give you an incredible sense of accomplishment.  Perhaps your ministry is thriving beyond what you dreamed and you are seeing great things happen in your church or in your group.  People are coming to the Lord, the ranks are swelling, and there seems to be growing excitement about what God is doing in your midst.   Your influence has expanded.  And this is where it can get tricky.

There is remarkable authenticity expressed in Paul Tripp’s quote.  The sheer honesty and even the actual articulation of this statement speak about a man who has gained a most helpful vision.  A vision that at first may feel frightening because of what it might say to the world about him.  But it actually does the opposite.  Instead of enslaving the speaker to a world of delusional isolation, it opens the door to light and freedom.  We the readers are the beneficiaries of such astounding realness.   Now the question becomes, what will we do with this?

Perspective can be difficult to hang on to.  It can be difficult especially when we see success in our ministry because if feels like an endorsement from God.  We begin to perhaps take more credit than is deserved.   Our heart subtly begins entertaining the half-truths it hears about our success.  After all, would we see this success if God weren’t pleased with us?  What can be so insidious about wandering down this line of thinking is how far off course one can get by just a small deviation.  That small course deviation can land us in Senegal instead of the English coast where we were headed.

This thinking reminds one of Adolf Hitler. During the course of World War II assassins attempted, and failed, to take Hitler’s life on forty-two separate occasions and after most of these failed attempts Hitler made comments to his inner circle and to the public, about his invulnerability and his destiny as one being endorsed by God himself.  Imagine the delusion it must take to come to such utterly false conclusions.  And yet, we can be in danger of drawing the same conclusions in our ministries.

Perhaps our ministries are successful because of God’s “zeal for his own glory and his faithfulness to his promises of grace for his people.”  That was thankfully the lesson Tripp learned as his eyes were opened to the thinking that he had erroneously embraced.  But thank God for his grace and mercy toward us.  Thank God that he does use us for his glory.  And thank God that the gospel covers our weaknesses and reveals the truth about us, and Him.

Tripp writes, “Pastor, you don’t have to be afraid of what is in your heart, and you don’t have to fear being known, because there is nothing in you that could ever be exposed that hasn’t already been covered by the precious blood of your Savior king, Jesus.”

Amen.  It feels great to succeed.

535826: Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry By Paul David Tripp / Crossway Books & Bibles