God is more interested in our character and  personal growth than he is in what we do or accomplish. As goes the leader, so goes the work, the ministry. We, by His grace, will want to continue to lead ourselves well as we seek to lead others. Rick Warren shares three ways God uses our “Work” to grow and develop us as leaders.

Originally published by Rick Warren

Leader, Pastor, your work matters. God is using you to help people find him. He’s using you to meet the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs of the people in your community. 

But those aren’t the only reasons your work matters. 

Your work also matters because of how God is using it to build your character. You spend a lot of your week at work, likely more than most. No one has “just” a job. God wants to use your experiences at work to build your character.

God’s number one purpose in your life is for you to grow up spiritually and become like Jesus. The Bible says, “Real maturity [is] that measure of development which is meant by the ‘fullness of Christ’” (Ephesians 4:13 PHILLIPS). 

So how does God use your work in ministry to build your character?

God uses pressure to teach you responsibility.

Every work has some measure of pressure. In ministry, you’re dealing with life and death matters. You’re helping people come to grips with eternity. You’re serving people in the most significant crises of their lives. 

Plus, you have deadlines. You have sermons and Bible studies to prepare every single week. You’ll stand up in front of your church this weekend and preach a sermon, whether you’re ready to do so or not. 

Even if you don’t feel like preaching one week, you do it because it’s your responsibility. Paul writes in Ephesians 5:15: “Live life, then, with a due sense of responsibility, not as [people] who do not know the meaning and purpose of life but as those who do” (PHILLIPS). The more you understand the true meaning of life, the more responsible you should be. 

The pressure of fulfilling deadlines every single week helps to make you more responsible and more like Christ.

God uses problems to teach you character. 

God is far more interested in your character than he is in your comfort. He uses all the uncomfortable problems in your ministry to fine-tune your character. God can even use temptations at work to build your character. Every temptation you face is an opportunity for growth.

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us—they help us learn to be patient. And patience develops strength of character in us” (Romans 5:3-4 TLB).

When you have a problem at work, don’t ask why it’s happening. Ask yourself, what can I learn from this?

God uses people at work to teach you how to really love. 

You work with people all the time. And sometimes you work with them when they’re at their worst—and not all that lovable. God uses those interactions to teach you one of the most important character-building skills you can learn—how to love. 

The Bible says, “Do all your work in love” (1 Corinthians 16:14 GNT). If you’re just going through the motions in pastoral ministry, you’re wasting your life. The highest motivation for any work is far more than just feeding your family. It’s all about love. And whatever you do in love, it pleases God.

When you do the right thing for the wrong reason, God says you won’t get any credit for that. God is far more interested in why you do your work than in what you do.

As you head into another week of ministry and work, be encouraged knowing that God can use everything that happens—good and bad—to strengthen your character and love for him and others.