Do you ever wonder whether all the time and effort you are putting into the ministry is worth it? Do you ever feel like what you are doing is not all that important? Do you wake up some mornings and feel like quitting the ministry? Do you get discouraged when you try to love and help people and it seems like there is no change in their life? Or that sometimes you are the only person in the whole wide world that is trying to do right? If you are honest with yourself, then probably at some time in your life you have asked yourself these questions. I Corinthians 10:31 says that “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man:” The truth is, everyone who is involved in the ministry will be tempted with these questions.
There are many Biblical examples of people who questioned God and got discouraged in the ministry: In I Kings 19 the great prophet Elijah got discouraged and sat down under a juniper tree. He complained to God that he was the only one serving and even requested for God to take his life. Jeremiah said in Jeremiah 20:9 that he would no longer speak the name of the Lord. David admitted in Psalm 73 that he almost slipped because he was focused on the seeming success of the wicked. Jonah, Moses, and Peter all made excuses for why they couldn’t serve God. The list could go on and on. So what separates the successful from those who quit? How do some people go on despite many trials while others quit at the first sign of adversity? How do you keep going in the ministry?
1. The Principle of Duty
Ecclesiastes 12:13 “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” Romans 12:1”I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” YOUR REASONABLE SERVICE. It just makes sense to serve the God who saved you! He pulled you out of the bondage and misery of sin. He saved you from Hell and wants to take care of all your needs! Why would you not want to serve Him? It is your DUTY to serve God. Now, it is better to serve with JOY and excitement, but we will get to that later. Sometimes you must serve out of duty. It may not be thrilling to get the door slammed in your face a hundred times out soulwinning, but regardless of whether anyone receives Christ or not you are still supposed to go. There will be days when no one thanks for your service, you choke during the choir special, and then get the privilege of cleaning out the restroom because someone made a mess. You will look at the alarm clock on an early Sunday morning and wonder whether you should get out of bed or not. Ask God to give you the joy of serving again, but until He does just be faithful anyways!
2. Joy vs. Happiness
Nehemiah 8:10 says that “the joy of the Lord is your strength.” When you received Christ as Saviour you also received something that world could never give you: JOY. The world will try to promise they can bring you joy, but real joy only comes through Jesus! That joy is your strength Christian! That joy keeps you motivated to serve God! That joy gives you strength to endure anything! Happiness is also a good thing to have, but it should not be confused with joy. That is where most Christians are getting confused today. They serve God when there is money in the
bank and the family is in good health. They are more than willing to give and be faithful to church if everything else in their life is running smoothly. Then one day that bill they forgot comes due, their cousin Fred gets pneumonia, or someone at church says something unkind to them and they start struggling with being faithful to church. Their giving drops way down, and it would be easier to convince a camel to go through the eye of a needle than it would be to convince them to show up to help in a ministry. These things happen because Christians are living based on happiness rather than joy. Happiness is determined by circumstances; Joy is a predetermined decision. Happiness cruxes on the temporal; Joy focuses on the eternal. Happiness is from the outside; Joy is from the inside. Imagine your life is a car. Happiness is the chrome package, genuine leather seats, and remote starting options. Joy is the transmission, engine, and fuel. Strip the Happiness off and you still have a very functionable vehicle. Strip the Joy off and it is not going anywhere. Look at Jesus in Hebrews 12:2. “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Jesus had a joy set before Him. The Bible doesn’t say He did it because it would make Him happy. It says that He was able to endure the cross because of the joy set before Him! What was the joy? Jesus knew that if He died on that cross then He would please His Father and save the souls of men! That was the joy of Jesus, and that should be your joy today!
Christian, the same joy that Jesus had is what will keep you going for God! Pleasing God and winning people to Him are the greatest two things you can do! When you get discouraged in the ministry, think back to all the people you have helped! Think about all the people in your city that might come to know Jesus if you do your job but will almost certainly burn in Hell if you do not! Keep a Joy set before you!
YP | Open Door Baptist Church