In his excellent little book The Character of Leadership (B&H Books), Jeff Iorg talks about the danger of defining ourselves by our work. He writes: “Leaders struggle to keep work in perspective because of their insecurities.
“Ministry leaders who compare themselves to the work accomplishments of men in their community are prone to this. Those men are producing products, increasing their bottom line, growing their revenue, improving their earnings and otherwise achieving measurable success. Christian leaders want the same respect, appreciation and ego-salving satisfaction others seem to receive.
“This symptom manifests itself in the subtle temptation to find security in material possessions. Many Christian leaders, particularly in the United States, are able to work vocationally in ministry and be compensated adequately. Some are even compensated generously. One pastor said, ‘I don’t know where the top is in ministry, but I’m headed toward it as fast as I can go.’ He believed hard work would produce promotions and financial reward. He’s right. They often do in a capitalistic system.
“But Christian leaders cannot be motivated by financial success. It leads to false security and disillusionment with ministry. We must model a better understanding of work, productivity, personal gain and security. Ambition for the right purposes and under the Lord’s authority is admirable. Unbridled lust for monetary fain to give you a sense of security and personal worth is not.”