Ministry will make you more holy or more of a hypocrite. Ministering to others will drive you to the Word, to your knees in prayer, and to a holy dependence on God OR ministering to others will confront you with the opportunity to pretend to be someone you are not. Ministry will develop you or it will destroy you.
Tim Keller poignantly writes of these two possibilities, and these only two possibilities, in his recent book Preaching:
Often your heart will not be in a condition to say such a thing [that God is so wonderful] with full commitment and integrity. You then have two choices. Either you have to watch your heart more closely, warming up continually so you can preach to people what you are practicing; or you have to learn to put on a ministerial air and become something on the outside that you are not on the inside… I continually observe that preaching amplifies people’s spiritual character. It makes them far better or far worse Christians than they would have been otherwise. (From Preaching, page 197)
For some, teaching the Scripture or counseling others with the Scripture forces them to more hungrily study the Bible and humbly submit to its authority. If you study the Bible with a teachable posture, the Word will change you. These people are developed by the One who has the power to transform our hearts and conform our character into His image. Only the One who has conquered the grave can conquer our hearts.
For others, teaching and ministering to others becomes an opportunity to pursue the spotlight, to feed the ego, and to feel necessary. Time in the Word is minimal and for the purpose of knowing enough to keep the charade going.
Let’s watch our hearts more closely so that we become more holy and not hypocrites.