In the business world, the bottom line is the last line of a financial statement that shows profit and loss. It is about whether the company is earning or losing money. And, as they say, the bottom line is the bottom line.
Every field of life and labor has a bottom line. In business, it is making money, earning profits and increasing revenue. In education, it is passing tests, making grades or earning a degree. In sports, it is winning games, awards and championships. Everything has a bottom line.
What is the bottom line for Christian ministry?
You would think the answer to this question would be assumed. A ground ball. A no-brainer. Unfortunately, many pastors and churches suffer from an identity crisis, a lack of gospel mission and misplaced priorities. We need to get back to the basics.
In 2 Timothy 2:15, Paul says, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth” (ESV).
The bottom line of Christian ministry is to please God in everything you do. Ultimately, the only thing that truly matters is whether or not you will be able to end your ministry by hearing the Lord say, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matt. 25:21).
God-pleasing ministry requires personal earnestness.
Paul instructs, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved” (2 Tim. 2:15a). Christian ministry deserves your best. You should live and minister with the blood-earnest conviction that if it bears God’s name, it deserves your best. The goal is to present yourself to God as one approved. God is the final, ultimate judge of the success or failure of your ministry. He is our target audience.
Note that Paul did not challenge Timothy to be better than anybody else. He says, “Do your best ... ” You don’t have to compare yourself with others, compete with others or come in ahead of others. Just give God your best — nothing more, nothing less, nothing else. If you give God your best, it will sustain you when the work is difficult, frustrating and tiresome. And you will be an approved workman.
The Lord is at work redeeming and sanctifying a people for Himself.