My daughter has this book about a lizard named Lucas. Lucas has a dilemma. He lives in a zoo with many other animals. Because he is little, and can’t catch air like the dolphins or roar like the lions, poor Lucas is tormented with an inferiority complex. So what does he do? One night while lying in bed, he dreams up a myriad of tricks, like dancing on his hands (do lizards have hands?), balancing a cane on his nose, with a top hat in his hand to conquer his complex. He’s so excited, he can hardly sleep. Sure enough, the next day, his exhibition eclipses his rivals. Lucas lives happily ever-after as he finally slays his complex by securing the spotlight and so, his own self-veneration. I don’t like the book. It’s teaching my daughter a radically egotistical and enslaving worldview that will only fertilize her already depraved heart. And at the same time, it’s piercingly convicting into my own sin I’ve seen in my church-planting ministry.
In a previous post on church-planting and pragmatism, I mentioned that something deeper is going on beneath pragmatic tendencies in our ministries. One of the most painfully convicting moments that God, in his grace, has brought upon me was when I finally saw what fueled my whatever-works-idolatry. I had the same egotistical bent as Lucas; veneration of self; a blinding lust for self-affirmation cloaked in “doing ministry.”