Monday’s Ministry Encouragement: Written to encourage you, my friend in ministry, to be refreshed and renewed as we live for Christ and look toward the Bema.
Pastor, are you ready to quit? Are you tempted to to “throw in the towel?”
You have some company in your misery. You may not know who they are or maybe you do, nevertheless they are all over the country.
Every pastor who is a faithful shepherd of the flock, a dedicated proclaimer of the Truth, a man of passionate prayer and a caring, compassionate friend will face times like these.
You will know suffering. You will go through heartache. You will experience betrayal. You will face criticism. You will battle your old sin nature as well as the old sin nature of those who oppose you. You will be misunderstood. You will get yourself wedged in a corner by your wrong choices. You will fail. You will feel isolated. You will disappoint those around you.
1. As you seek to lead others to Christ in salvation and sanctification, these folk are helping you grow and change.
Romans 12:9-21 reveal characteristics of Christ that dwell in you, in Christ, that are brought to the forefront as you go through hard times: genuine love (9, 10), abhorrence of evil (9), holding tightly to what is good (9), serving (11), rejoicing (12, 15) patience in tribulation (12), steadfast prayer (12), hospitality (13), blessing those who curse you (14), weeping (15), humility (16), living peaceably with others (18), showing love to your enemy (17, 19-21).
As you labor to see Christ formed in others (Galatians 4:19), all things work together for good for you as you are conformed/changed in Christlikeness (Romans 8:28-29).
So, take heart, fellow laborer. The congregation you serve doesn’t need to see you, They need to see the Christ in you, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27); He Who is true life (John 14:6).
2. Since we are messengers of the gospel and the crucified life (2 Corinthians 4:7-12; 5:20; Galatians 2:20), we do not deserved to be treated any better than our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Paul’s longing should be ours: That I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death (Philippians 3:10 ESV).
3. Don’t hang your head, keeping looking ahead!
But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9)
Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).
One of my many favorite songs, written by Esther Kerr Rusthoi in 1941, says,
Oft times the day seems long, our trials hard to bear,
We’re tempted to complain, to murmur and despair;
But Christ will soon appear to catch His Bride away,
All tears forever over in God’s eternal day.
It will be worth it all when we see Jesus,
Life’s trials will seem so small when we see Christ;
One glimpse of His dear face all sorrow will erase,
So bravely run the race till we see Christ.
Sometimes the sky looks dark with not a ray of light,
We’re tossed and driven on, no human help in sight;
But there is one in heav’n who knows our deepest care,
Let Jesus solve your problem – just go to Him in pray’r.
If you need a friend in ministry who has experienced the many pains and the many joys of ministry, please give me the honor of coming alongside you to listen, to pray, to encourage and to genuinely care. Don’t be afraid to reach out. Email me your contact info at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll be glad to be an “Aaron or Hur” in fight.