Are You “Unsuccessful” in Church?

Written By Leslie Koh, Singapore

You’re active in church. You’re there every Sunday morning, arriving early to arrange the chairs and set up the worship team’s equipment, or to help pick up disabled members from their homes and wheel them to their usual spots in the worship hall.

Or your personal ministry is counselling troubled teens or comforting lonely old folks, so every week or so, you meet them individually after service, over a cup of coffee, to listen to their woes and pray with them. And over the years, they’ve come up to you, one by one, to thank you and tell you how much you mean to them.

But nobody knows this. Your name doesn’t figure anywhere in thank-you lists or the Who’s Who in the church newsletter. When they announce appointments of deacons and leaders, you’re not one of them. When they name contenders for the Hall of Heroes, your name is missing. Few people greet you by name. Why, hardly anyone even knows who you are.

“It’s okay,” you tell yourself. “God knows. I don’t need to be known; it’s okay being low-profile.”

Except . . . it’s not. Not really. Because everyone needs a pat on the back now and then. Because sometimes, you’re tired of being taken for granted, and a little recognition and gratitude won’t hurt. You’re not jealous of the ones who get all the credit and the fame (really!), but you’re a little weary of doing all the back-end work without being appreciated.

Hey, we could all do with a little “success” in church (or at work, if this is true at your workplace too). But it’s not something you seem to be enjoying.

Remember the story of the man who goes down the beach picking up starfish stranded on the sand and throwing them back into sea? Someone asks him, “How you’re going to save all of them? There’re too many.” He answers, “Yes, but I’m making a difference to this starfish.” The usual lesson is, you might not be able to save everybody, but you can save some, one at a time.

Fine. But here’s the thing: Do you remember the man’s name?

Bet you didn’t. No one ever does. He wasn’t mentioned in his church bulletin or praised at his Sunday services. His pastor doesn’t even know his name. But to every single starfish he threw back into the sea, he’s a true savior. They all know exactly who he is. Who is he? He is the Starfish Picker.

And that’s who you are. Only those whom you help know you. The girl you counsel every time she breaks down. The old man you help up the steps every week. To them, you are their world, because you are the only one who cares. The crowds may not know your name, but they do. You are their starfish picker.

“But I’ve only helped five people,” you argue. Maybe it’s one. Maybe, you think, that’s why few in church notice what you do. But as far as these five people—or two, or one—are concerned, you are a Godsend. At night, they thank God for placing you into their lives. Why? Because you are God’s starfish picker.


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2 replies
  1. crinklyd
    crinklyd says:

    Thank you for this post. It has been something that pops up in my head now and then, it affects my feelings. Sometimes it made me feel like I wasn’t good enough or not doing enough but this is just assurance to know that there are people out there who care and it doesn’t have to be in numbers

  2. sam mwaura
    sam mwaura says:

    why do you call me lord and don’t do as I tell u?? again why do u call me good ??? no one does good but the father ??? why do u call me father ??? we have but one father … some call Abraham the father of faith … I choose to call him an ex idol merchant … he lied twice about his wife sarai choosing when it was convenient for fooling kings like pharaoh and abimelech … she’s just my sister my friend man!! he did a whole lot of wrong by her !!! this fib became something of a family airloom which daddy passed to the next generation Isaac … he found himself in the same predicament with Rebekah when the towns people reported seeing a hootie with the new kid getting jiggy with it and reported the matter to the Philistine king !!! when asked to explain himself he said the same lie daddy told .. my sister my friend … not hard to see why Solomon called the bedueen girl he was messing with by the same titles man!!! moving on Jacob gets into trouble over yet another girl … Rachel but the custom was not to get hitched to one before the elder sister got engaged for marriage !!!! got sucker punched by Laban on wedding night when sweet Rachel assumed the body of Leah nuh!!! moving on Jesus said if ua to come after me you must leave behind mother father sister brother wife kids and a dog funny!! and come following me .. he that loved his life will loose it in the end but he that hates himself and picks up the cross and willingly looses himself for my sake him I will crown with eternal life .. then and only then will I make him a fisher of men !!!! Paul said the price of the high calling to know him who sent me both personally and intimately .. then only can I count all things as dung compared to the knowledge of the son !!!! Christianity is an extremely disruptive force in the universe !!! Christ put it this way !!! I have not come to bring peace on earth !!! I have come to bring a sword !!! I have come to set a son against his father a daughter against her mother a daughter in law against her mother in law and a man’s enemies will be those of the same household !!! flip side Peter asked Jesus we have left all our earthly possession to come following u what is our reward??? Jesus said surely no one who has done will be denied a reward our stuffed tiger in eternal life and for kicks we get a new name that no one knows inscribed on an emerald man !!! three points !!!! the real good life !!! holiness first till we’re under the earth !!!


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