Friday, June 05, 2009

Difficult Ministry

This week I came back across some scribbled notes that had come to mind in the midst of a sermon. I find sermons to be very stimulating to my thinking. A main point will send me off thinking of application in different areas. So, while listening to a sermon on 1 Samuel on a time of difficulty in David’s life, I began to ponder the difficult places of ministry so many brothers find themselves in from time to time. I am not actually in a difficult place at the moment, but I often talk to brothers who are. Thinking of them in light of the text this is what I jotted down:

Is it the Lord’s will that I suffer so at the hands of difficult people? That I labor to so little result amongst non-responsive people? Would not the Lord use me? Is such pain and uselessness the will of God?

Consider Moses, the promised Deliverer. He ended up fleeing for his life which led to 40 years of watching sheep in the desert. Yet, God was at work preparing him for use.

Consider also David, the promised King. He had to suffer rejection, conspiracies against his life, living on the run and hiding in caves before God placed him on the throne.

Consider also Jesus, Himself, who accomplished his great work precisely in the midst of his great suffering.

God is at work, and we must relinquish the demand to see the results in our own time. We may be blessed to see the work of God flourishing in our hands (and if so do not fail to recognize what a blessing that is!). Or we may be called upon to labor faithfully never seeing the result. Either way let us labor faithfully, believing that what we see is not all there is (2 Cor 4:16-18). Let us trust God and say “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” (1 Cor 15:58).


Chris said...

Ray, I have experienced that same thing. Listening to sermons stimulates my thinking. I don't recall seeing anyone else mention it. But, I know just what you're talking about.

Mark said...

Thanks for this encouragement, brother...

AspiringTheologian said...

Moses also had to deal with the fact that, when he returned to the children of Israel they rejected him and hated him... "Lord, why have you brought trouble on this people? Why is it you have sent me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has done evil to this people; neither have you delivered your people at all." (5:22-23).

But God was not merely going to deliver Israel, he was going to do it in a way that showed that he is the LORD.

Jeff Lash said...

Yes...thanks for the encouragement. It is all too easy to play the comparison game today with technology giving us more access to sermons and churches around the globe. Yet, we have little idea how the Lord desires to use us in the grand scope. I need a constant reminder to be faithful in all things, both "great" and "small."

Bill Hornbeck said...

What is the reason for the "Therefore, be steadfast ..."?

The prior verse states: "but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." I Corinthians 15:57.