As a Canadian living in America I never cease to be amazed how blessing and success oriented American Christianity is. We all understand the roots of America and the focus on freedom. It is a story to inspire free people and wanna-be free people of all nations. It is a story nothing short of the working of God in carrying out His destiny on this earth.
But the focus of success and the American Dream seems so blatant and overwhelming, it has become a part of the American version of the Gospel. For some time now it has appeared to me that Christianity as it is practiced in the western world is simply another, more sophisticated form of selfishness. Just do the right thing - the will of God - and you will be blessed beyond measure. If things are not going well - more money, better job - maybe you are not doing something right.
Having listened to dozens of success preachers, health and wealth gospel preachers, blessings preachers, I stop and I think about some of the heroes of scripture, and ponder what incredible failures they were compared to what the American success preacher says you should be.
I then wonder how much of this mis-direction contributes to burnout in the ministry. I also wonder how much of this mis-thinking contributes to few American ministers admitting they are disillusioned and burning out. We get many emails and phone calls from all over the world every week, but few of them are from American pastors. We hear from wives of American pastors, children of American pastors, friends of American pastors - but few American pastors can bring themselves to say - help! After all, John Wayne would never ask for help, would he?
“Seek first the Kingdom,” my Bible tells me, “and all these things will be given to you as well.” The focus is God, not money, God, not material success, God, not church growth and your photo in Charisma or Christianity Today, God, not a big house, God, not a successful business.
If God makes you the second most powerful man in Egypt - awesome. If God asks you to live out your life as an old man on the isle of Patmos with stale food and poor sleeping conditions, awesome! But let God be your focus, and don’t get sucked into the endless dream of a better life right here and now. A better life of blessings that will disappoint and help contribute to burnout.
If you haven’t read Larry Crabb’s book, “The Pressures Off,” get a copy and read it three times minimum. You will never be the same, but you will have a better direction whether you be rich or poor - you will be closer to God.