1Therefore , since we have this ministry, as we received mercy, we do not lose heart, 2 but we have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus' sake. 6 For God, who said, "Light shall shine out of darkness," is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves ; II Corinthians 4: 1-7 New American Standard VersionRecently I had a conversation with both male and female pastors regarding clergypersons leaving the ministry. One of the ministers talked about preachers leaving due to practical matters – low wages, high anxiety, difficult parishioners, etc. Another shared that he left the pastorate after 6 years because he realized that he did not want to deal with difficult people the rest of his life. Women in the conversation were lamenting the fact that they had not gotten ordained until their 50’s and would probably have few opportunities to pastor even if they believed that was their calling. All agreed that no one enters the ministry (at least in their right mind) and stays simply because they want to do so. Most agreed that we would have given up by now if it were not for the “call,” that mysterious thing given by God that compels us to hold on, keep pressing forward and continue on when everything in us and around us is yelling – GIVE UP! Anyone who is called and accepts the call understands this dilemma. Paul put it like this…
7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves ; 8 we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed ; perplexed, but not despairing ; 9persecuted, but not forsaken ; struck down, but not destroyed ; 10always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. II Corinthians 4: 7-10; NASVThis is our lot as preachers of the Gospel. Outside of the call, there is no peace, no contentment, no fulfillment. Yet we wrestle with the dictates and the circumstances we find ourselves in due to “the call.” So, “since we have this ministry,” let us remember to do some thing so that we won’t faint and lose heart…
- Through prayer and discernment, find at least 1 or 2 friends that can relate to you and your circumstances, with whom you can share your struggles in confidence and have a good laugh on a regular basis
- Take care of yourself. Don’t allow others to run you into the ground, accepting/taking on responsibilities that stretch you to the max with few rewards
- Get some rest when you are tired. The world will not stop spinning on its axis if you sit down or take a day off!
- Don’t accept less that what God intends for you to have. Be sure that your circumstances are due to God’s seasons for your life and not you being a door mat!
- Keep your eyes and ears open to the voice of God and seek to fulfill God’s calling upon your life. Your gift will make room for you!
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Until Next Wednesday, In Faith, Hope and Perseverance, Pastor Chris