The Bible is very clear that the heart is the key to living a healthy life.
Proverbs 4:23 (NIV) says to guard the heart, because “everything you do flows from it.” In the NLT, the same verse says that how we guard the heart “determines the course of your life.”
As a leader, but also as a Christian, there are three critical areas we must focus on to ensure that our hearts, and thus our actions, stay healthy.
1. Focus on the right rewards.
Unfortunately for most serving in the church tech world, nobody really notices when we are doing our jobs well. The expectation is often that we will execute a perfect service with no technical issues at all. And while that may even actually happen once in a blue moon, it can still feel painful to not really get recognized for a job well done.
In those moments, we have to remember why we are doing what we’re doing. We’re not in this role to get pats on the back and shout-outs from the stage. Are they nice to get anyway? Sure they are! But it shouldn’t be the motivation.
The motivation should be the end result of what you’re able to help your ministry accomplish. The people who were saved or baptized because you were able to provide the technology that allowed them to experience the message. The visitors who felt comfortable in a new environment because you ensured that the transitions were smooth and free of distractions. The people who engaged with the message in a new way because of an environment you created.
In 1 Thesssalonians 2:6 (NIV), Paul gave his readers this reminder: “We were not looking for praise from people.” Those whose lives were changed in your church’s service may never come up to you to say thanks for doing your job, and you may never get the credit that you rightly deserve for doing your job well. But at the end of the day, if we’re focused on the eternal reward of our actions, then we can make sure that our hearts are in the right and healthy place.
2. Focus on honor and respect.
In the age of social media, it has become commonplace for us to feel that our own opinions or feelings are constantly justified and, worst of all, must be voiced. After all, we have all of these followers who are looking to us for entertainment or to “like” our opinions, so that means that our opinions are always worth sharing, right?
The result of this is that we have become a people who have placed too much emphasis on our own understanding. If we don’t understand it or agree with it, then it must not be right.
So, we take that view from politics, or sports, or culture, or whatever it is we’re talking about, and we bring that into our ministry. When we don’t agree with a change to the set list, we make sure that other people know our feelings about it. When we don’t like the way the band is doing that new song, we make comments to those around us about it. When we don’t appreciate the pastor’s last-minute decision to change the service flow, we allow ourselves to complain and vent to the nearest set of willing ears.
But what we fail to remember is that in those moments, we are still leading people. And we’re setting a negative example of both attitude and emotion because of the dishonor and disrespect our complaints are showing to our leaders. While a quick vent or negative remark may not seem like a big deal at the time, our volunteers (or other staff) around us will begin to feed off of our example. And before you know it, they’ll be doing the same.
The writer reminded us in Hebrews 13:17 (NIV) to “have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account.”
Sometimes it’s not my job to understand why things are happening a certain way. But it is my job to trust that those in authority over me are making the best decisions possible. It is my job to do everything I can do to support those decisions.
I once heard a pastor say that that which we dishonor, we lose. If we dishonor the authority above us, then we will lose the right to have authority over people under us. That’s what it’s so critical that we don’t allow spirits of disrespect to take root in our hearts.
3. Focus on being holy.
Unlike most of the time when the word “holy” is used, I’m not necessarily talking about being pure or avoiding temptation (although those are critical, too). In this instance, I want to focus on having a holy heart by getting rest.
We have become a culture that values busyness or stress. We reward it, almost like a medal of honor. It’s become an item of comparison to see who is working the most, and in a twisted way, we seem to be impressed by the “warriors” who work hundreds of hours in a week or dozens of days on end.
But the more tired we get, the weaker our minds become. When we get too focused on the stress and anxiety around us, we let chaos rule the day. And when we’re spending too much time focusing on the frantic nature of our lives, we can’t focus on God. It’s in those moments that we are forced to operate solely on our own energy, emotions, and understanding, simply because we aren’t stopping amidst the chaos to get our focus back on track.
I’m convinced that thinking on the wrong things can be just as harmful to us as thinking on bad things. And if thoughts are what lead to desires in our hearts (which ultimately lead to actions), then those wrong thoughts can easily get us out of whack.
God designed us all for a very special reason, and He’s set us apart (making us holy) for that very thing. But if we don’t allow ourselves time to rest and be refreshed with His peace, then we are limiting how much of what He’s called us to that we can actually do. Our minds get exhausted, and our hearts grow weary. And when our hearts and minds are flooded with stress, chaos, and disorder, there is an absence of God’s peace (1 Cor. 14:33 NIV). But when order is restored, God’s blessings in our lives are released!
Stay humble by focusing on the right rewards of your service. Maintain a spirit of honor by respecting those in authority. Keep your mind and heart holy by finding time to rest in the chaos of life. Focus on these three easy steps to keeping your heart healthy, and I promise that your life will be better than you ever could have imagined!