Mid Week Meditation - December 4, 2018Submitted on: December 4, 2018
“Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves”
I am reminded constantly that ministry is not the appealing and glamourous call folk many times imagine it to be. I began some twenty-five years ago like many of my colleagues thinking ministry, for the most part was what I had seen played out on Sunday mornings. Ministry appeared to be highlighted in the ritualistic pageantry on days of celebration when Pastors honored each for their exemplary church work. Years of heartache and heartbreak have convinced me beyond a shadow of doubt, that is not ministry.
Real ministry, I have learned the hard way, is oft times what many are not privileged to see. Ministry is late night appeals for help, long hours at the hospital, missing meals and sleep, dealing with other people’s problems. Ministry is enduring insults and disrespect pushing your body to the very brink of its physical limits reaching out to someone who is well beyond their own limit.
Jesus tried to warn us! He very clearly proclaimed “I send you out as sheep among wolves”. Jesus knew of the pitfalls of ministry. Jesus wanted us to know that we should not get it twisted, it is not all “happy times” and it “ain’t gonna be easy.” But Jesus reminds us that God called us to accept the challenge.
In the midst of some very trying times we are challenged to remember the Lord’s promise to be with us always. The good news is even with all the fears, there is no need to be alarmed, because we are not alone. The truth is Jesus is still sending out His army in groups prepared to work alongside those of us who are already on the battlefield.
As I think back to my wide-eyed optimistic beginning I recall that no one shared with me that ministry would not be everything that it is sometimes thought to be. I saw the beautiful robes and gorgeous gold crosses on magnificent gold chains but was not aware that the stress and strain of ministry produced such an enormous rate of depression. I was not told about and subsequently was not remotely prepared for the pain of church problems, combative congregations, sudden funerals and other stresses of the pastorate.
Jesus’ challenge to His soldiers is for us to, "Go your ways: Behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves." It is not difficult to understand that wolves will always be in the mix, when you consider every second hundreds of babies are born in sin and shaped in iniquity. Each of them must be led to Christ. Folk still need to hear the good news that Christ was born into the world to save our sin-sick souls.
Though always present, wolves should not spoil our enthusiasm as Jesus sends us forth with a transfixed spirituality. God called and put us through a spiritual metamorphosis. We have been well prepared for this task. Years of service will not wear us down. Hours of trials will not crush our faith. Nor will the many challenging moments weaken our spirit.
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