Encouragement for those who wonder “if it is worth it”

Devotional thought of the Day:
1 I urge you, Timothy, as we live in the sight of God and of Christ Jesus (whose coming in power will judge the living and the dead), to preach the Word of God. Never lose your sense of urgency, in season or out of season. Prove, correct, and encourage, using the utmost patience in your teaching.   2 Timothy 4:1 (Phillips NT) 

110  Rest assured: when you work for God, there are no difficulties that cannot be overcome, nor discouragements that will make you abandon the task, nor failures worthy of the name, however unfruitful the results may seem.  (1)

There are times life seems to difficult, the challenges to overwhelming, making progress seems impossible, and even maintaining where we are at, doubtful.

This is especially true for those who walk with God, who look at the world that Jesus sends us to bring the message of His love to, even as the Father sent Jesus.

We hear stories, like that of the lady in Britain who will have an abortion, so that she can appear on a reality television show.  ( She’s publicized it, which will put the reality show in a tough spot – will they re-issue the invite?  It will gain them publicity – but…)

But I don’t even have to go that far to see the challenges faced in this world.  The couple that gets married, but brings too much baggage from prior relationships, the person who is dealing with so much resentment in one relationship that it poisons other relationships, the pastor who is challenged by not seeing any changes in his people., that they haven’t grow in the two, or ten, or twenty years,  Is there a point where we should give up?  Where we stop giving them the answers that point them to Jesus Christ?  Is there a point where we come to the conclusion that it just isn’t worth the sacrifice anymore?

Or do we turn to “life coaches”, new programs, spend great deals of money trying to find a way to have measurable success?   There are enough programs out there, enough guru’s and experts and consultants, to last a lifetime.

Or do we stick to our guns, keep things just the way they are, taking great pride in our stubbornness, even in the face of defeat.  After all, one can serve faithfully even if it makes us miserable, the point is being faithful, right?

Faithfulness on our end is not about giving up, or finding the miracle program/person, or even sticking to our idea of being faithful.  It is about having faith, trusting that God has told us to go, but that there will be seasons of life, and seasons of ministry that are barren like winter, some are like the rapid growth of spring, others like the dog days of summer, and others where the beauty of fall shows the glory of God, and the value of being patient. In each of those seasons, our work is to point to Jesus, to His love, to correct those that are veering away from it,

We should evaluate our messages, our work, how we prove and correct and encourage others to look to Jesus. To trust in Him, not in us or to a style of ministry or worship.  But all that work has to be done with patience, knowing that in each of us, there is the struggle of sinners and saints. That is our key, patience that is born in our faith in God, in our confidence that He is reigning, that He is in charge.

It’s hard, very hard. We are like the rest of the world, we want to do what we want. But when we trust in God, when we know we can focus on Him, we begin to see those promises revealed in our midst. Luther, a man who struggled through many dry seasons, and many were life seemed forgotten said it well, as he wrote about the Lord’s prayer:

Truly, God’s good and gracious will is accomplished without our prayer. But we pray in this request that is be accomplished among us as well.  (2)

His will, will be accomplished.  It will, we have that promise.  Yet we need to know it is being accomplished here, in our midst, in our presence. (and it helps a lot to see the role we play in this -even if minimal)  We have to trust God – and keep focused on Him – even if that simply means praying the Kyrie.

Patience is the same kind of trust we have in the Lord, that He will deliver us, it is the faith that sees God revealing to us His love and mercy…

Struggling?  Look to Him.  things not working our – Look to Him…

(1)  Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). Furrow (Kindle Locations 661-662). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

(2) Luther’s Small Catechism: Developed and Explained.

About justifiedandsinner

I am a pastor of a Concordia Lutheran Church in Cerritos, California, where we rejoice in God's saving us from our sin, and the unrighteousness of the world. It is all about His work, the gift of salvation given to all who trust in Jesus Christ, and what He has done that is revealed in Scripture. God deserves all the glory, honor and praise, for He has rescued and redeemed His people.

Posted on April 22, 2014, in Devotions and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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