I want out. Words whispered from my lips, words I never thought I’d say.
The ministry had devastated us. My husband and I were wounded from the battle of church work, having been subject to too much internal dishonesty and sin. I craved an escape. Yet God strengthened us.
In Scripture, we see the Apostle Paul fight the good fight of faith and finish his race. How can we endure in ministry, even when it’s hard? What can we learn from this leader who fulfilled the call of God on his life?
1. Paul believed Christ was worth it.
If there was ever anyone entitled to a break from ministry or to bail all together, it was Paul (2 Corinthians 11:22-28). Despite unimaginable challenges, this faith-filled man stood firm. He was determined to glorify God for as long as there was breath in him (Acts 20:24, Gal 6:14, Phil 3:7-11).
It’s all about Him, isn’t it? Our serving must be about Jesus, not our plans, numbers or being right or successful. If we get side-tracked with these lesser goals, we’ll be tempted to give up when trials come. But if He is our treasure, we’ll be strengthened to press on (2 Timothy 4:17).
2. Paul loved people and endured for their good.
How passionate are we to see those we shepherd grow in maturity? Will our love for them cause us to endure, even when our flesh pleads for an out?
Paul knew that loving others would cost him. Yet they were worth the sacrifice. He labored tirelessly to see people saved and conformed to the image of Christ, even at great distress to himself (Gal 4:19, Phil 1:24-26).
Living for others is hard and unnatural, but our people are worth it! Let’s ask God to give us compassion that continually draws us back into serving for their good.
3. Paul lived with an eternal perspective.
This physical world can feel like the only reality, but Paul believed time spent on this earth was just temporary. He looked ahead to the reward (2 Corinthians 4:16-5:10). God calls us to lift our heads and trust He’s bringing about an eternal plan in our lives.
I’m so thankful my husband and I didn’t run from ministry. One day our faith will become sight, and eternity will reveal that enduring for the sake of Christ and His bride was worth it.