One Last Thought About Ministry and “Spinning our Wheels”
Devotional Thoughts of the Day:
13 “You have said terrible things about me,” says the LORD. “But you ask, ‘What have we said about you?’ 14 You have said, ‘It’s useless to serve God. What’s the use of doing what he says or of trying to show the LORD Almighty that we are sorry for what we have done? 15 As we see it, proud people are the ones who are happy. Evil people not only prosper, but they test God’s patience with their evil deeds and get away with it.’ ” 16 Then the people who feared the LORD spoke to one another, and the LORD listened and heard what they said. In his presence, there was written down in a book a record of those who feared the LORD and respected him. 17 “They will be my people,” says the LORD Almighty. “On the day when I act, they will be my very own. I will be merciful to them as parents are merciful to the children who serve them. Malachi 3:13-17 (TEV)
“The apostle has no aim other than letting God work, making himself available.” (1)
“It is by God’s grace that our feet don’t lose contact with the path we are set out to follow. We say, “here I am, Lord” when He calls. He calls continually to the willing, and the unwilling. It is not so much our ability He has need of, but our availability. (2)
I started a number of blogs this week, questioning the validity of our feelings, when they question the results of our ministries and our very lives. When we wonder if the effort is worth it, when we wonder if we are just spinning our wheels. As I looked at the “hit count”, and the responses to these posts, the results were staggering – a lot of people read these posts. I am not sure whether I should be sad at this being so common, or relieved that I am not alone.
But as I’ve written each day, there is a faith issue involved, as well as one of discernment. It is really easy, as in the Malachi passage to look at this world and see people getting “blessed” for doing good, and those who struggle, not being blessed, at least from our view. Do we see those people who know God is with them and therefore make incredible sacrifices to serve being pointed out as great examples of faith, or those whose political machinations earning them praise?
Do we trust that God is here, listening, acting, being part of our lives as He has promised over and over and over to His people?
Oh how easy it is to question God, or the more “mature” version (since we know we can’t do that) our questioning our own results, the benefit of “our” ministry.
When we trust in God, yes, we rejoice in the the hard times. But we also rejoice in the times of rest, the times where we need to realize God is at work, and that the present trying times are not an indication of His faithfulness to us, nor of His love. We simply make ourselves available, keeping our eyes focused on Him, or remembeing His work in us in our baptism – and rejoicing. Of remembering His invitation to come and dine with Him, to do this knowing His work, His love, His presence. Of seeing His unmatched love for us.
As we do – our focus comes off of us, we stop evaluating things by our standards, our expectations, and realize that He is at work in us.
And that.. simply is glorious.
To reveal the work that happens, that God makes profitable within His will and His desire.
To realize the ways He wants to walk with us may seem different – but then again – He is with us…….
Cry out in those times, Lord Have Mercy, and wait and listen, and know He already has…
(1) Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 2454-2455). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
(2) The Northumbrian Community, Celtic Daily Prayer, Harper One p. 313
Posted on January 18, 2014, in Devotions, Theology in Practice and tagged Celtic Christianity, depression, Evaluation, life, Ministry, spinning our wheels, St. Josemaria Escriva, struggling, Success. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.
That’s the truth. Most of us fear God instead of giving Him what He gives us – love. God resides in our hearts and therefore, we must listen to our hearts. Love God, love people, love this whole universe.