But sometimes I find myself focusing on the hurts and hardships that come along with it, rather than the rewards that it brings:
Many of these things sound petty if we spell them out just so. But if we’re honest, these types of considerations can weigh heavily on people involved in ministry or considering becoming more involved in ministry.
Just like my childhood self, sometimes I fall into the trap of seeing the ugly sides of ministry.
As I realized how often I let these negatives weigh down my desire to minister for Christ, God reminded me of several things:
1. Ministry wasn’t easy for Jesus either.
Let’s face it. We have a much easier time ministering today than Jesus and His disciples did. Jesus came to minister to a people He knew would reject Him. He healed the sick, preached to thousands, performed miracles, and taught His disciples all while facing mockery and ridicule from the very people He would soon die for.
Jesus’ ultimate act of ministry was laying down His own life on the cross so that sinners might be saved. He willingly endured this humiliating death, during which He suffered the absence of His Father’s presence. This was the culmination of His ministry, and it was the opposite of easy. In preparation for this moment, Jesus prayed:
“O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt.” Matthew 26:39b
Ministry was hard for Jesus. Hurtful, painful, and filled with betrayal. He ministered anyway, and we can follow His example because He paved the way.
2. Ministry is our expression of love for Jesus.
While Jesus’ ultimate ministry lay in His sacrificial love for sinners, our ministry is our way of saying “thank you” to Him for His salvation. Yes, we minister out of love for the sinners He died for, but, ultimately, we minister out of love for our Lord and Savior.
When ministry gets us down, I think this is a wonderful truth to remember. How much gratitude do we owe our Savior? Can we sacrifice just a little more of our time and money—a little more of our pride and comfort—to say thank you to our God?
When serving gets hard, remember that this is for Him. We aren’t working for people or places or things. We are working for Jesus. And for Him, we can keep working a little longer.
3. Ministry provides countless blessings, even if we can’t see them right now.
Looking back now, detached from childhood emotions, it’s easier to see the blessings in growing up as a pastor’s kid. I was blessed with the testimony and guidance of parents who remained faithful to God through the good times and the bad times. Not everyone grows up seeing the good, the bad, and the ugly of ministry—the hurts, betrayals, accusations, and lies that plague a pastor’s life. But I had the opportunity to watch my dad go through these trials without once losing His faith.
These memories buoy me up in times when my faith would otherwise sink. I think the ups and downs of ministry provide these blessings for each and every one of us because God is not an ugly God. He is a just, merciful, bountiful God who blesses our feeble works of ministry.
He blesses us with:
4. Ministry builds up a future reward.
“And behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” Revelation 22:12
Believers will be rewarded in Heaven according to what they do on earth. Our Father knows all about the trials of ministry. Jesus experienced first-hand the hurts of serving God in a sinful world.
We can minister out of love for Jesus, confident that our God knows the struggles we go through even if no one else does. He will reward us for running the race He has given us.
What ministries are you involved in at your church or outside your church?
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