In his new book Immeasurable, Skye Jethani asks us which of two leaders we’d like to be.
One lifted an entire nation out of despair. He led with vision and inspired passion. His life impacted everyone alive today. He set in motion an industrial and scientific revolution that led to the invention of many things we enjoy today. By the time he died, everyone knew his name.
The second leader lived in the same era. He ran a school of a hundred students. He wrote a few books, was regarded by those who knew him as intelligent and faithful, but died with his life’s work incomplete.
Which leader would you like to be? Adolf Hitler or Dietrich Bonhoeffer?
“My point is simple,” Jethani writes. “Effectiveness isn’t everything.”
We somehow have the idea that all of us are called to be extraordinary. The older I get, the more impressed I am by people who aren’t trying to become someone. Many serve in out-of-the-way places and will never be known as world-changers. Some of them feel discouraged. They mistake anonymity and ordinariness with failure.
I’m not arguing for mediocrity. I’m arguing for the importance of ordinary, faithful ministry in which people serve and love as well as possible, but will never be written up in a magazine or be invited to speak at conferences.
If that’s you: be encouraged. Read books like Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor and Liberating Ministry from the Success Syndrome often. Inoculate yourself against the world’s standards of success. Remember that effectiveness isn’t everything. Serve the best you can, learn all you can, and then leave the results up to God. Your ministry matters more than you can imagine.