Loving the San Francisco Bay Area... Community development, urban ministry, trying to defeat poverty, faith, religion, politics, good music, the quest for the perfect pizza, the Yankees, motorcycles... All in a 'day's life'

Saturday, March 03, 2007

The False God of Impact

Out of Ur blog interviews Paul Visher, one of the founders of Veggie Tales about impact and leadership. Paul Says:
Near the end we were selling a gazillion [Veggie Tales] videos and I was getting four hundred fan letters a day, but one day I was reading my Bible and I came across the verse that lists the fruit of the Spirit. It occurred to me that none of those things were present in my life. It didn’t say the fruit of the Spirit is impact, large numbers, or selling lots of videos. I realized something was not right.

I began asking, how am I supposed to live? I thought I had that figured out, but evidently I was completely wrong. So over three months I went through all of Paul’s letters and wrote down every directive or instructive statement he made. And when I read all of those statements it became clear that the gospel I had was a sham. It was more the gospel of Benjamin Franklin than the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was more about self-improvement, and pulling yourself up by your bootstraps, and going out and changing the world. It was American cultural values masquerading as the words of Christ.

Now I ask myself, have I done what God has asked me to do? Am I walking with him daily? Success has very little to do with where I end up. I don’t know exactly why, but we seem wired to look for numerical results for affirmation. But success in ministry cannot be about measurable impact.

We should have peace. We should have joy. And that doesn’t mean we should force ourselves to have it, because we can’t. It will come from us when we’ve let go of our life, when we’ve let go of our ministry, when we’ve let go of any aspiration for having an impact. When it’s just us and God we’ll find the joy and the peace. Then, we can get back to work and help other people follow that path.
This spoke volumes to me. How often do I seek impact and effectiveness over depth and relationship with God and others. It's a hard balance sometimes, especially when we see so much hurt and need in the community. But I guess it's as much about 'being' as 'doing'. I've been trying to learn that lesson for a long time now.

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