Sunday, October 31, 2010

I Refuse to Compete

     One of the most interesting aspects about those of us who have chosen a ‘public’ ministry is the constant attacks and criticism we expose ourselves to. Obviously, we all would like to believe that our ministry is more unique and special than others, that we are contributing in greater measure than the next person.
     Unfortunately, due to our own human frailness and weaknesses, the enemy (Satan) knows one of our biggest Achilles heels is our own ego and pride. This aspect of our personality has been extant from inception, especially for those who have been raised in a society that values competition more so than service. We are surrounded by competition at all levels, having been exposed to this first in school and later in the marketplace, where greater value is placed on those who excel and obviously achieve more results than the other person in the same arena.
     I have seen this failing in the church more than I expected when I first came to Christ. Most church members fall all over and swoon at the charismatic preachers and evangelists who have been blessed with great oratory skills, and even those who so easily can spout scripture at a more rapid pace than a slot machine spewing quarters as it hits the jackpot. Many of those evangelists and preachers I worked with in the past surprised me when we gathered together after a giant crusade and or service. Such comments like, “I bet over a hundred people accepted Christ today,” or “how much money do you think we raised during the service.” This was the main reason why I left the traditional ministry and have devoted my time solely to writing and blogging on the Internet.

     For those who know me well, they see that I never ask for any funds, nor have I posted any credit card section on my blogs or web sites where people can donate. Like Paul, I choose not to compromise the Gospel by charging any money. I used  my own funds from my social security retirement benefits to pay for my books' printing and shipment costs. Some godly saints have sent unsolicited contributions which I used solely to get more books from my publisher and send them to those who could not afford to buy them. Trust me; I do not make a living from selling books. For the most part, whatever little royalty funds I receive I turn around and purchase books and send them to people who can’t afford to buy them. God provides all my needs!
     Yet, a heavy competitive attitude confronts me at every turn in whatever path I take on various threads and postings, that sadden me to no end. I believe that each and every one of us who feel compelled to preach the gospel has been given a unique gift from God, energized and powered by the Holy Spirit. Like most of the beautiful brothers and sisters I have met online, I marvel at their specialness and find myself praying that God will continue to use their respective ministries for the kingdom and glory of our precious savior. Sadly, I find myself being challenged on all turns as if others feel they have to call me onto the dusty road of town and place my hands close to my holster, cajoled into drawing my scriptural six-shooter at their command.
     The many years I spent researching and writing my two books were at the behest of the Holy Spirit. I was not seeking to become a successful Christian super star, earning millions of dollars nor becoming a renowned evangelist/preacher/author. I was compelled to write the things I discovered for one sole purpose: alert my fellow Christians that tribulation will increase as never expected, that there will be no Pre-Tribulation escape to Heaven, and many will suffer because they will buckle under an anti-Christian crusade that looms in the immediate horizon, because they fail to draw near to God. For the most part, the majority of people who are becoming aware of my book's premise do not agree with the doctrinal precepts included in my books. So be it. Only the Holy Spirit and time will prove their veracity. One thing is certain, tribulation is increasing as never before, and many Chrisitans (especially in America) are not prepared to deal with it!
     Those who not only embrace Jesus Christ, but pick up their cross and follow Him in service, who walk in the spirit with Him throughout the day, will more than likely be one of those who will experience God’s End Times Passover (Revelations 3:10). Many of these faithful servants, however, will suffer great tribulation and some will be martyrd for Christ. But, sadly, many will buckle under the mounting pressures and will deny Christ in order to survive and provide for their family.
     Nevertheless, and most often, I constrain myself from entering into most of these heated debates, and I merely walk away; but yet can hear behind me chuckles and retorts claiming victory. So be it.
     However, I recognize my role amongst the thousands of servants the Lord has called out to serve him in the best manner I can. If anything, I give praise daily to God for even using a sinner like me to carry forth any portion of His wisdom to reach others for Christ. My life’s slogan, for many years of service is, “I did the best I could with the tools I’ve been given.”
     Once again, A.W. Tozer, a theologian I have always admired and trust his wisdom from his many years in the ministry, sums it up best:

     So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor, (1 Corinthians 3:7-8)
     "Dear Lord, I refuse henceforth to compete with any of Thy servants. They have congregations larger than mine. So be it. I rejoice in their success. They have greater gifts. Very well. That is neither in their power nor in mine. I am humbly grateful for their greater gifts and my smaller ones. I only pray that I may use to Thy glory such modest gifts as I possess. I will not compare myself with any, nor try to build up my self-esteem by noting where I may excel one or another in Thy holy work. I herewith make a blanket disavowal of all intrinsic worth. I am but an unprofitable servant. I gladly go to the foot of the class and own myself the least of Thy people. If I err in my self-judgment and actually underestimate myself, I do not want to know it. I purpose to pray for others and to rejoice in their prosperity as if it were my own. And indeed it is my own if it is Thine own, for what is Thine is mine, and while one plants and another waters it is Thou alone that giveth the increase." The Price of Neglect, pp 104-105, by A.W. Tozer.
     In conclusion, hopefully those of us, who have chosen to be servants of Christ, will acknowledge and recogniz the wisdom found in what Paul stated in the book of Philippians when he said:

     It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16 The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. 18 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice, (Philippians 1:15-18).

For information concerning the books written by the author, please click on Joe Ortiz


  1. Amen, brother, and thanks for the reminder of who gives the increase and for sharing the wisdom shared with you.

  2. What incredible spiritual insight the Lord has given you, Brother Joe! Don't let the misguided pretribulation rapture pipsqueaks bother you. What we are witnessing these days is the dead-snake-like postmortem reflexive writhing on their part while they continue to refuse to believe that their 19th century theory has already received its well deserved death certificate from the majority of (non shouting) theologians and church historians who are more than ready to denounce and bury the same comforting hoax! The theorists want to be the first to tell you that they sense that they are losing and that you are on the winning side - and this is their way to express themselves. But not to worry - the lid is about to drop on their dispensational heads and the whole world will see it. Thanks, Brother Joe. Carlotta

  3. I like this Joe, I know what you mean. I have been in ministry now for a very long time, but left the institution quite sometime ago, to minister one on one, the everyday people I would encounter working a regular job, paying my own way like Paul. I have just recently had to turn trying to sell a short story of mine, and working on a Novel, for at present it is the only means of income I have. I am awaiting the Social Security's decision for my Disability. Yes, Joe, we are a rare breed in the state of the present day, Prosperity preachers, who seem to be the only one getting prosperous. No need to wonder why!
    I will continue to keep you in prayer always, as I hope you will I. God Bless