Devotional Thought of the day:
11 We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, 12 always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light. 13 For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, 14 who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins. Colossians 1:11-14 (NLT2)
998 O blessed perseverance of the donkey that turns the waterwheel! Always the same pace. Always around the same circle. One day after another, every day the same. Without that, there would be no ripeness in the fruit, nor blossom in the orchard, nor scent of flowers in the garden. Carry this thought to your interior life.
999 And what is the secret of perseverance? Love. Fall in Love, and you will not leave him.
This weekend was extremely busy, a funeral on Saturday added to an already long day. Sunday included church, Sunday School, a meeting, and then another service, where we installed the new president of our district.
As I was there, I ran into a bunch of friends, including pastors that served for twice as long as my two decades in ministry, Even one who has served 55 years as a pastor. Another who has served in the mountain jungles of Papua New Guinea since 1972, translating the New Testament into three different languages.
As i shared some time with these brothers, I thought about the stories we hear, about 1500 pastors and priests a moth leaving the ministry, about clergy burnout and how often pastors flee or are fired from congregations.
And then today, in my readings, I come across these words in Colossians about patience and endurance. As I read the words of St Josemaria about perseverance as well, about how ministry is really being available for people day after day, meeting them in trauma, helping them remember that God is with them, or revealing His presence, which brings to them peace and healing.
The situations change, but the basic motion is the same. Encounter trauma after trauma, work with the break to see healing happen, even as Jesus heals us. Day in and day out, counting on God’s faithfulness to see us through.
Yet, even after all of our plodding, we see the effects. The beauty in a child that wants to be baptized, the joy in a child who wants to receive the Body and Blood of Christ and learns the things that make her desire even more. The smile on a man’s face when he receives communion after having to miss church for 4 weeks because of work. The work of pastors who gather together to pray for and with each other.
All these things happen because we keep our eyes on Jesus as we plod through our daily ministry. Because what happens is, our eyes on Jesus, we reflect His love to those as broken as we are. We reflect the power of mercy, as we live knowing Jesus has forgiven us, in order to unite us to God. These things happen, as we experience the love of God, and learn to adore Him, as He invites us to share in His glory.
For those who are shepherded by such men, pray for them, and encourage them to spend time contemplating God’s love for them.
For those who plod through ministry, Keeping looking to Jesus, and the Holy Spirit will use your plodding in ways you won’t believe!
And to all, find peace and rest in this fact: THE LORD IS WITH YOU!!!!!
Escriva, Josemaria. The Way (Kindle Locations 2316-2321). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.