Exploring Your Motive for Ministry

How can a fluttering butterfly remind us about the motives of our hearts? What character quality is elusive like a butterfly but also essential to be effective for God? Keep reading to determine if you truly have this quality. This has been a challenge in our personal lives because we have struggled in this area as well.

Do you desire to be more useful in God’s kingdom or to have a greater ministry? Do you find yourself feeling frustrated because it seems you can’t do what others are doing or have the same opportunities they have? You may be struggling with one of the greatest detriments in being effective for God.

What is your response when you see God using someone else in a ministry similar to yours or one you desire? Do you bless them and look for ways to promote them to others, or, since it makes you feel inferior, do you demote them? Is your initial response to bless them, or do you find it easy to discredit what they are doing and find fault in them? Do you have a drive to be recognized for what you have accomplished or done for the Lord? Do you feel wounded when others are recognized for their labors and you are not? What if someone in your church, organization, or ministry is promoted, and you are overlooked? Can you freely rejoice with them? I know these are tough and heart searching questions.

Over the years, we have seen the various ways that people in ministry have responded to each other. There is a tendency to have a competitive attitude and even some feelings of jealousy among each other. I believe this grieves God’s heart and hinders the work He wants to do in each person’s life. We have also had to deal with this sinful tendency in our own lives. God has laid this on my heart, and I believe it is because of the negative affects it has on us and others.  

Be careful if you find yourself struggling with how you see God using someone else in ministry. We all admire Joni Eareckson Tada and her ministry to quadriplegics. Most of us, however, would never desire to have her ministry, because we know the cost she had to pay (and still does!) in exchange for it. Sometimes we don’t know the price someone had to pay for the ministry they have, but you can be assured that it didn’t just happen by chance. I believe most effective ministries and individuals are the result of great difficulties and some form of loss. I think about a ministry that has reached thousands of youth for the Lord. This began with one young man who was willing to lay down his personal desires and ambitions to reach his high school for Christ. Many people admire the Duggar family’s ministry (19 Kids and Counting) but aren’t willing to make the same sacrifices they have made to have the testimony of a godly family. You may see someone with a ministry to hurting and grieving people because of their painful past of abuse, or the death of a spouse or family member. Are you sure you still want to have the ministry that someone else has? It may cost you more than you are willing to pay!

God has a purpose for how He wants to use each of our lives. Be content in the niche where God has placed you and don’t spend your time wishing you had the ministry that someone else has. There may be a time when God will break your heart and have you walk the painful journey out of which ministry will flow. Can God count on you to respond correctly then, if you are struggling in your circumstance now? I challenge you to ask God to reveal the true motive for the ministry you are involved in or desire to have.

So what is the character quality that may be missing in your life? It’s this unpopular little word…humility. The definition of humility is: “Recognizing that it is really God and others that are responsible for the achievements in my life.” If we really grasp this, then we realize that there is nothing we can do or accomplish to make ministry happen. It is only the result of what God is doing through us during the events of our lives.

This summer, our little girls have enjoyed trying to catch butterflies. We can tell just by observing them, however, that this is no easy feat. They make a sweep for the butterfly, but, alas, they open their grubby little hands, and they are EMPTY! Just when they thought they finally had it, it was GONE! “Humility is, in many ways, just as elusive as a butterfly.” The moment you think you have finally captured it, you realize it just left you!


(“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” -Helen Keller)


  • Doris
    Posted at 22:43h, 10 August

    wow Cindy, very thot provoking!! Thanks for the timely posting on this!! I esp. liked the part of being content in the niche God has placed you in. It’s exactly what I need right now – finding contentment in where God has placed me!

  • Melvin Yoder
    Posted at 00:01h, 12 August

    Very well said. This is something i struggle with. Thank you for sharing.

  • Duane & Cindy
    Posted at 12:52h, 13 August

    Hi, Doris! God bless you as you allow Him to continue His work in your life. I believe discontentment is one of Satan’s greatest tools in the life of the believer. I know from personal experience! ~Cindy

  • Duane & Cindy
    Posted at 12:54h, 13 August

    Melvin, Thanks for your comment. To God be the glory! We all need to be reminded of this, don’t we?

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