Because of God’s grace to me, I have laid the foundation like an expert builder. Now others are building on it. But whoever is building on this foundation must be very careful. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have—Jesus Christ. Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials—gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value. If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward. But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames. ~1 Cor. 3:10-15 (NLT)
Have you ever become discouraged because it looks as if mostly everyone around you seems to be progressing in their ministry endeavors, and you are still struggling? Does it look as if others have that "crowd appeal" when it comes to hosting events and conferences, and no one ever notices your efforts, or worse than that, only a handful of people even show up to your venue? Are you still trying after all these years, to make the right connections by casual name dropping, hard at work to create the strategic network circle that will get you noticed on the "friend" list of some highly recognizable name in social media, resorting to "liking" and posting an "Amen" every quote they put up, requesting to tag yourself in their pictures, or even giving sizable offerings that you can't afford,in an effort to gain their favor? Well, I have one word for you: "STOP!" It's a waste of your time. Many of the people you are trying to emulate have worked tirelessly for years to get to where they are, and if you were to ever sit down and talk with some of them, their stories would be overwhelming. Those with genuine ministries have endured trials, tests, hardship, betrayal, rejection, discouragement, loss, grief, sickness, and all kinds of emotional pain. They had to wait, study, be trained, be brokenhearted, and still be faithful. No one gave them anything, they worked hard to achieve the status that you see them carrying.
. . .Instead, we commend ourselves as ministers of God in every way. We did this with our great endurance through problems, disasters, and stressful situations. We went through beatings, imprisonments, and riots. We experienced hard work, sleepless nights, and hunger. We displayed purity, knowledge, patience, and generosity. We served with the Holy Spirit, genuine love, telling the truth, and God’s power. We carried the weapons of righteousness in our right hand and our left hand.~ 2 Cor 6:4-7 (CEB)
Don't allow the enemy to deceive you into thinking that the "way to the top" in ministry is to have what the world calls "Game" or "Hustle" because although there are many who have chosen this way, in the end, it will only come to ruin. The Bible says that every one's works will be tested by the fire of God when we stand before Him, and His fire will reveal the intention of the works that we have done. It goes on to say that we will still be saved, but all of the worthless things we invested our all into in this life to achieve greatness that God didn't even recognize will all be destroyed. What a humiliating experience that would be, for the Almighty to destroy our hustle and game! If you're unsure of what hustle looks like, here is a brief definition in context:
To convey forcibly or hurriedly; to obtain by energetic activity; to sell something to or obtain something from by energetic and especially underhanded activity*
Does that look like anything you have been trying to do, to make your ministry happen? if so, you can turn it around, ask God for forgiveness and help you to go on the right path to do things His way. Everyone will not have a large dance/worship arts ministry, an extensive conference schedule or long mailing list, but everyone can do God's will. Maybe in your efforts to attain these things, you have found yourself being tempted to push others aside to make room for yourself, or even sacrificed some friendships to become more appealing to the people you are trying to impress. It's not too late to change your course! Go back and get direction from God, and if what He is leading you to do seems small for now, be faithful with that and do it with a pure heart. And remember the old song that says: Only what you do for Christ will last!
Selah . . .