Whenever I’m with other pastors and they ask me, “How’s your church going?” I know the answer I give is not the answer they want. For most pastors “How’s your church going” is really code for “How many people are coming to your church services.” I have always had a sneaking suspicion that if I answered the “How’s it going” question with an attendance figure, that I have missed something.
This quote from A.W. Tozer convinced me that my suspicion was correct—
“Dear Lord, I refuse henceforth to compete with any of Thy servants. They have congregations larger than mine. So be it. I rejoice in their success. They have greater gifts. Very well. That is not in their power nor in mine. I am humbly grateful for their greater gifts and my smaller ones. I only pray that I may use to Thy glory such modest gifts as I possess. I will not compare myself with any, nor try to build up my self-esteem by noting where I may excel one or another in Thy holy work. I herewith make a blanket disavowal of all intrinsic worth. I am but an unprofitable servant. I gladly go to the foot of the class and own myself the least of Thy people. If I err in my self judgment and actually underestimate myself I do not want to know it. I purpose to pray for others and to rejoice in their prosperity as if it were my own. And indeed it is my own if it is Thine own, for what is Thine is mine, and while one plants and another waters it is Thou alone that giveth the increase.” —A.W. Tozer (emphasis added by me)
A gutsy prayer! O Lord, may I always be able to pray this prayer in absolute integrity.