Stop for a moment and consider the state of the world we live in today. Now consider the various threats to Christian ministry that exist in this world. It can be overwhelming. However, there is one significant threat that is more dangerous than you may realize. That threat is you!
That’s right- as the leader of your business, you could be the #1 threat to your own Christian ministry efforts if your walk does not match your talk. You know this behavior as hypocrisy and it can be crippling to the strongest of Christian ministry efforts. This should be no surprise to you because you have even seen it happen on a national scale.
Hypocrisy Damages Your Ministry Efforts
You may not enjoy the national exposure that others have, but your ministry efforts can still be rendered ineffective if your behavior is in conflict with your speech. Your fall may not reach headline proportions, but the effects can still be the same – just on a smaller scale. In fact, there does not have to be a “fall” for this to happen. It can happen in small, unnoticeable increments on a daily basis.
Here’s the deal: You might have the smoothest voice and the most charismatic presence with people. You might be mega-successful in your business and have incredible ideas about how to leverage that success into Christian ministry. All this could be true, but if people see hypocrisy in your actions, your dreams are doomed. You will find yourself years down the road wondering why those ministry dreams never materialized.
Evaluate the Truth in Your “Pitch”
Think about it. You are “selling” a solution to a problem that everyone has. You have the answer they need. This solution and answer is Jesus. There is no disputing the effectiveness of this answer with anyone who has experienced Him. You are “selling” to many people who have likely not experienced Him. You are doing ministry in an effort to point these people to the answer. Good job!
Unfortunately, these people who have never experienced Jesus are looking at you to see what difference He has made in your life. Do you realize that? Do you realize that they are doing exactly what you do every day in your business decisions?
When a salesperson approaches you about a new product or service, you want to know about other businesses who have successfully used this product. You ask for referrals. If this product is related to health or wellness, you mentally evaluate the salesperson to see if he exhibits the results you would expect. Regardless of the product or service, you want to see how others have fared with it.
If your speech is about the benefits of Jesus, but your actions reflect no change in you, then what are the people you’re ministering to to think? Do you really expect them to accept your word despite the inconsistency with your actions?
If you go back to reflecting on the world around us today, you can easily come up with a handful of examples like this that are not even related to ministry. Look at politics or the entertainment industry and you will find plenty of hypocrites! One calls another a liar and then is caught doing the exact same thing themselves.
The world is already full of examples of hypocrisy – too many. Your people do not need one more staring them in the face every day.
Live with Integrity
If you need one more reason to commit, take a look at the Bible. There are plenty of examples of Scripture relating to hypocrisy, but the following makes it abundantly clear what we are to do:
Little children, we must not love with word or speech, but with truth and action.
1 John 3:18
We cannot keep talking about our faith and beliefs while our actions do not match up. It is time for us as Christian business leaders to recognize we are to walk our talk. We cannot expect to be effective in Christian ministry if we are not living it out in truth and action.
I encourage you today to take a look in the mirror. Ask a trusted friend or leader in your business for help. Get a solid assessment of the consistency between your talk and walk. Don’t settle for anything less than raw truth.
If there is any inconsistency between the two, eliminate it. Pursue it with passion and commit yourself to living out the example you are called to live. You know this, but don’t forget: this is not a one-and-done commitment. It is a daily duty and you cannot shirk it.
Stay tuned. In my next post, I will offer some tips on how you can do this. It is not easy, but I guarantee you can do it!