There is an international race going on right now for gold, or silver or bronze. Or just the opportunity to race.
May I suggest that it is not enough in the race of life to race. One must finish. It is not enough to have bronze skin, one needs a golden heart. It is not enough to have a silver head of hair, one needs a platinum record of solid faithfulness. A golden ring is useless if it is tarnished by infidelity and incest. No, to obtain the prize, one must finish the race and finish well.
Likewise, when we are ministering, a plaque on the wall and baptisms are not enough. Babies dedicated and large attendance are not the measures God uses. God is looking for obedience.
Better to speak in love than to be honored with gold for how well you can speak.
Oh, that we would obey more closely. We may intend well enough, but we still fall short. What use is hollow victory? What use is wood, hay, and stubble? A fire is coming. Your ministry will be tested by fire. The best way to make sure that you ministry survives fire is to minister in the fire.
Get into a regular pattern of discipline. I am not talking about routine fasting, early rising, or late nights of prayer. No, I am talking about enduring suffering as a good soldier. A good soldier doesn’t complain just because it is hard. He is honest about difficulty, yes. But a good soldier is part of an army of one where he function as part of a broader unity. A good soldier looks not only after his own comfort, but also after the comfort of others. He is not looking to advance in the ranks. A good soldier is wanting all the ranks to advance.
In ministry, the only way that this is possible is if we advance in prayer. We must seek first the Kingdom of God & His righteousness. God will take care of who gets the gold. Our job is to get God. He will not avoid us. He is not ashamed to be called our God. Pursue Him.