Tag Archive: sinful nature

Ego In Ministry

top gun

“Son, your ego is writing checks your body can’t cash.”

This quote was a part of dressing down of Tom Cruise’s character, Maverick, in Top Gun. He saved someone’s life, albeit, while jeopardizing himself, others and a “thirty million dollar aircraft.”

As church leaders, do we also need to be reminded of this? Jesus apparently seemed to think so, when He said, “Apart from me, you can do nothing.” Our ego doesn’t like to hear this… especially if we have a maverick mentality.

The first time I watched Top Gun (the first of fifty-plus views) I was thirteen and was at Ray Runyon’s house. Ray’s mom let him watch PG-13 movies, and mine didn’t. I remember lots of things about my first viewing of the movie, and it ultimately became my favorite. I wanted to be Maverick. But the only things Maverick and I had in common were our small stature (and our ability to act cocky while trying to spin a volleyball on one finger and spike it, despite only being five-foot-nothing).

The maverick mentality has some unfortunate consequences though, especially when paired with a sin nature. I experienced this recently. My ego wrote a check I couldn’t cash.

I woke up one morning into what I thought would be a light day… no critical meetings, no crucial conversations anticipated. My ego said, I can do this on my own. I wasn’t teaching, so I chose to skip my quiet window of opportunity before my four kids woke up, and didn’t spend time with God. My ego said, I don’t need dedicated time with God to complete my day. But two hours into my work day, I found myself in a critical meeting, having crucial confrontations, both of which had spiritual implications.

My (spiritual) body wasn’t prepared.

By God’s grace, the Bible’s application doesn’t expire after 24 hours of reading it. God allows you to come to Him any time, not just during a morning “quiet time.” His spirit allows you to call upon a reservoir of God-moments in your life, for immediate sustenance in times of need.

But that doesn’t change the fact that at my desk that day, when I had to react in a way that honored God and others, I wasn’t ready. I hadn’t connected with God.

I had considered my day and felt I could do it on my own.

Anytime we think we can do things on our own, we’re jeopardizing things. Specifically, our ministry. Your role as a church leader requires you to be dependent on God. There’s no room for a maverick mentality.

Here are some things your ego might say:

  1. I don’t need accountability for my online activity.
  2. The church’s growth is primarily due to my leadership.
  3. I know that scripture passage, I don’t really need to study the text that much to teach it.
  4. I’ve done lots of funerals, I don’t need extra time in prayer for this one.
  5. I deserve that opportunity.

You know who agrees with these egotistical statements? Your sinful nature.

For reasons I don’t understand, God has provided the church as the hope of the world. And if you’re like me, you also don’t understand why He’s given you the privilege of leading in His church. But He has.

Trying to lead His church, independently of Him is not a good idea. As Iceman would say, that’s “dangerous”. Don’t be caught writing checks you can’t cash. Don’t waste time thinking you’re maverick, when you should be seeking to become more like Christ.

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