While my two friends were here from Texas, we had an ongoing conversation about this ego thing.
I'm sure it was mostly me rambling on and on, but at least they were gracious to listen and contribute to my little theory.
The ego gets tricky once you commit your life to serving Christ. Especially when that service takes form in full-time vocation. Once you decide to go into ministry full-time, your brain can very easily slip into the same issues with ego that happen outside the ministry walls. But now we get to tag it with a "God's will," card.
Here's how it can play out:
1. A parent decides to spend countless hours leading small groups, planning studies, serving in soup kitchens, teaching the Word, and discipling new believers. All the while, their children are being siphoned off to raise themselves. They are filling their time with movies, extra curricular activities, and finding trouble simply because they are being shoved off in the name of "ministry." And it's hard to argue with, because you are doing, "The Lord's work."
The way I see it is that there is a danger in these things. A danger not in the serving the needy, but in needing to be needed. At the end of the day, there can be more accolades given and more pats on the back from small groups and congregants than your 4-year old daughter will ever give to you. Your ego is stroked by being out in the front lines instead of behind the doors of your home, serving your children. It's a much more glamorous way of doing the Christian life. Or so many think. These people like to be needed by others and their ego likes the public attention they get. I know this because I've walked through this. I used to think that being cool would draw people to Jesus, but really it just drew them to myself.
2. A person always attributes "God moving" to large numbers of people coming to events or small groups. While this might be true sometimes, maybe people just thought you had good music. Maybe it had nothing to do with God stirring in their hearts whatsoever. We like it when lots of people come because it makes us feel popular, like we are on the cool kids' side of the dance floor.
On the flip side, we get discouraged when few people come. We assume failure and wallow in discontent. Bigger doesn't mean Godlier. It can just mean bigger. This little numbers game that we like to play gets in the way of us seeing the Lord move in small things like a woman deciding to forgive an unfaithful husband. To that woman, a mountain has been moved. But we miss it because we are too worried about how our event compared with the turnout at the event down the street.
I need to be concerned with seeing the Lord's fingerprints in today.
I need to check my ego as I find satisfaction in others vying for my attention when I simply get annoyed at my children needing me.
I need to examine why I say "yes," when I am clearly exhausted and stretched emotionally. I find that oftentimes I say yes because I like the feeling of being needed by others outside my home. That somehow that validates my existence. We gloat in being busy and then complaining to others about just how busy we have been. I say we just all agree upon the fact that we're ALL busy, then we can move on with more important matters. The only people who aren't busy are homeless or in jail. The rest of us are busy. Life is busy We need to simply get over it, get to the root of why we feel we need to be so busy, and make sure our kids know that they will get my "yes" too.