categories: accountability
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July 15th, 2008

by Craig Groeschel

16 comments (+ Add)

Temptations of Success (2 of 5)

Ministers occasionally faces different temptations. Sometimes a pastor/minister believes:

I deserve to be treated differently.

I am a big believer in giving honor to others. And when others honor us, it means something to me. But the moment I start to expect it or believe I deserve it, is the moment I step into trouble.

As God blesses our ministries, we must remember who it is that brings the growth! God is the giver of true success.

We would be wise to remind ourselves, we aren’t entitled to anything. We are called to serve and represent Christ.


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  1. 1Andrew Statezny
    Jul 15, 2008 at 7:28 am

    I once bragged on a missionary friend of mine in front of a large group of people. She had spent 38 years in Bangladesh with little or no recognition for the sacrifices she made. After I finished she pulled me aside and chastised me. She explained that serving did not mean recognition here. Her direct quote was, “Don’t you dare steal my heavenly reward by giving me accolades on this earth.”

    Thanks for the post this morning. It reminded me of my friends words.

  2. Jul 15, 2008 at 7:50 am

    as much as i agree there is also a tension where we must teach people to honour where honour is due. It can be easy for pastors trying to be humble to teach their congregations to take them for granted.

    In my experience the best way to achieve the balance is not to demand honour and huff if we don’t get it, but to model honour by honouring others. Also to received honour graciously.

  3. 3Judy
    Jul 15, 2008 at 7:53 am

    We are called to serve and represent Christ.

    Very good statement…maybe that should be framed and put on the desk of every pastor…or better…every Christ Follower…it is when we forget that WE are servants and begin to expect to BE SERVED that we get into trouble

  4. Jul 15, 2008 at 8:07 am

    Great words: “deserve” and “entitle”
    I’ve also added “expect” to my list of no-no words.
    Hate it when I “expect the audience to…” You know…stuff like that? I just need to obey Him and let Him lay out expectation.

  5. Jul 15, 2008 at 8:26 am

    Consider others better than yourselves. This is HUGE!

  6. Jul 15, 2008 at 9:16 am

    “For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.” - 1 Cor 15:9-10

    That being said, it’s like Andrew was saying, and something you said in a sermon one time… if it’s better to give than to receive (also in the realm of compliments), then when we can’t or won’t receive a compliment graciously, we’re robbing others of the gift of giving.

    Expecting: bad. Accepting: good.

  7. Jul 15, 2008 at 9:20 am

    Good thought-provoking post today C. I can understand Paul’s “tension” but at the same time I think many pastors crave that attention. I am more inclined to think that taking a pastor for granted doesn’t come from us teaching them not to but from the failure to earn their respect. I may call myself “pastor” but it goes way beyond just that. It also involves living with the people and sharing my life with them. When they know we care we don’t have to tell them to respect us. They will. To repeat what others have said: it comes from service. It is “heady” to be respected and to be looked up to but that noose tightens easily also.

  8. Jul 15, 2008 at 9:41 am

    We ARE treated differently! To whom much is given, much is required…

    If we are living our lives as a sacrifice, we aren’t focused on what we are receiving.

    I often times daydream what it would be like to go one day without using the word “I” & “Me”. Lord, grant just one day focusing completely on others….

    I don’t desire compliments, I want to see CHANGE!
    Only God gives true CHANGE!

    More concerned about God’s “well done” than my peers…
    Sometimes it’s the only one there is, in the midst of a tough season in life or ministry (wait, are those the same?)

    Great thoughts Craig,

    Praying God’s influence and increase continue empowering your servant heart to do AMAZING things for the Kingdom.

    John 6:63, Zech 4:6

  9. Jul 15, 2008 at 10:24 am

    When I experience success. Often times I worry that it wont last. I hate to admit that but it’s true.

  10. Jul 15, 2008 at 11:06 am

    Since we work so hard for so little recognition in the early years of ministry (especially in pastoring), It is so easy to feel a sence of entitlement when we are rewarded with successes. I must constanly remind myself the words of Jesus, “I did not come to be served; I came to serve”. He did not esteme himself highly (Paul worote). He is our example. The successes we may receive in ministry catapaults us into positions of favor where people may treat us differently so we can serve more effectively for His church. The greater the success, the greater the servant (that’s what I tell myself anyway. Living it is more of a challenge).

  11. Jul 15, 2008 at 1:11 pm

    I guess I simply try to give to others what I need (or even deserve). It’s far more fun honoring and blessing others… and, with this kind of focus, things always seem to turn ok for me too.

    I so don’t deserve to do what I do - but I’m gonna keep doing it!

    Thanks Craig!

  12. Jul 15, 2008 at 1:42 pm

    The praise of man is like perfume

    It smells good………

    But if you drink it - it will make you sick

  13. Jul 15, 2008 at 2:26 pm

    Great post and very convicting. Keep up the awesome work. Glad to see you are speaking at Hillsong next year!

  14. Jul 15, 2008 at 6:48 pm

    “We are called to serve and represent Christ.”

    Amen, Craig. I’m often asked why I get excited over washing cars, cleaning toilets, answering phones or whatever the case may be… simple really.. it is a privilege to serve others and to help them notice God in the moments of life and living.

    As always.. you were just prayed for!

  15. Jul 15, 2008 at 8:19 pm

    Hello pastor Craig, my name is Paulo and I’m from Brazil. I’m writing an article for a newspaper called Rio Grande Gospel ( where I will be talking about christian blogs. I would like to ask you some questions about this subject, if you don’t mind. So please send me your e-mail address so I can send you the questions.

    This is my email address:

    Thanks you in advance for all your help. God bless you.

    Paulo Camargo (