But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing…..2 Thessalonians 3:13
Let’s be honest, most everyone that has been in the ministry at some point or another, you have quoted this verse to yourself and more than likely more than once. I mean doing ministry can be difficult. We are fighting principalities and evil on every hand and let’s be honest, that is not getting any better. We also find that we are fighting the spirit of complacency that seems to be running rampant within the church itself. So many times it is easy to get discouraged when it seems that everything that you are doing is to no avail and that no one seems to be listening. I mean in the time that we live the task of ministry can seem overwhelming at best, but the truth is that this has been going on since God called the first of the prophets. Think of this:
In 1 King 18, we find the prophet, Elijah. Elijah was one of the great prophets of God. He fought against 850 false prophets and God answered his prayer and brought fire down from heaven. By the time we get to 1 Kings 19 we find that Elijah is so discouraged that he asked that God would just let him die. At one point he tells God that he is the only one left and God quickly reminds him that He has 7000 that has not kneeled down to Baal. Now anyone that has done ministry has felt like Elijah, we have thought to ourselves the very same words of Elijah, that no one was serving God but us. Now, if we are not careful this can make us bitter, and it can even make us spiritually arrogant. Elijah would not listen until finally, God tells Elijah to go and anoint Elisha in his place. Now, this is where it gets interesting because the Bible tells us that Elisha did more miracles than any other person other than Jesus. I mean here is Elisha, with the same people, and was able to accomplish great things for God. Which makes me think, could Elijah have been as effective had he not allowed himself to get into the state of mind that he was in? Now, we cannot look to down on Elijah, being that God did take him up in a chariot of fire to heaven. But still, the question is, could the same things be done if he had stayed the course, and not grown weary?
When we allow ourselves to live in discouragement we begin to see only where things do not seem to work. We focus on those that do not want more or those that are not living right. We seem to begin to think like Elijah we are the only ones that are doing right by God. The problem with this way of thinking is that, like Elijah, we become useless for the kingdom. By focusing on all the problems we fail to accomplish the task that Jesus has for us. We fail to make the difference that God has purposed in our lives. I believe this is a tactic that the enemy uses to make us ineffective for the kingdom of God. What happens is while we are focusing on all those that want nothing more, we fail to minister to those that have a hunger for God.
This was made clear to me a few months ago when I started working with a small group of college-age young adults. I listened for years to people in the church talked about how this group was a generation that did not want to know God and had no desire for the church. As I began to work with this group I have noticed that they have a hunger for the Word of God. They want to know the truth, they wanted me to explain the meaning of the scripture and they wanted to know true theology. They have challenged me as they study and ask questions and express and share their thoughts that are deep. If we are not careful we look at the ones that are not living the right way and we lose sight of the people that have a desire to serve God and just needs someone to help them. The problem is that if we are not careful we can become so discouraged by what is not happening that we miss what is happening and we miss those that do want to draw near to God. God has called us to serve and it is not about us, it is not even just about people but it is about fulfilling the purpose that God has for our life. Remember while Moses was on the mountain getting a word from God, the people were dancing naked around the golden calf. The fact that they were sinning did not make Moses any less of a leader but only challenged him in how to deal with the situation at hand. Moses simply asked who is on the Lord’s side, and Moses worked with those people. For us in ministry, the goal is to never lose sight that we have a job to do and we cannot allow anything to stop us from what we are called to do, no matter what the response of people. Don’t grow weary.