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Ecclesiastes 10:10 (NIV)

But skill brings success.

The world's definition of skill and success is entirely different from God's point of view. In this world, skill, the ability to do something well, is acquired or taught. However, in the spiritual realm, skill is a gift of God, and that too by His grace (1 Cor 3:10). The ability to preach, teach, evangelize, and perform other ministries are spiritual gifts endowed solely by God and His discretion (1 Cor 12:4-10, 12:28). These are not skills that are either self-acquired or taught. For example, a man who is naturally an orator isn't necessarily a good preacher. Many great prophets like Moses and Paul were of the slow tongue (Exodus 4:10, 2 Cor 11:6) and were not born orators.

Secondly, how does God define success? Is a church thriving if its membership exceeds 10,000, situated downtown in a ten-million dollar building, wins 1000 converts every month, has a half-billion dollar annual budget, and the pastor is paid $250,000 annually? In 1 Corinthians 4:2, Paul defines success as being faithful. "Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful." In Matthew 25:23, we see the Lord commending the servants for being faithful with a few things. Again, the emphasis here is on faithfulness, not volumes or the amount of revenue generated. Today's churches are obsessed with directing traffic and winning converts. As necessary as they may be, the focus should be on being faithful to the Lord with the grace He has given. If we preach the gospel, God will add to the church those being saved (Acts 2:47). It is our job to be faithful in ministering His word, and it is the Lord's work to bring those that need to hear His word.

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