I love being a Pastor. I love my Church Plant and the way I am allowed to do services differently, enabling all age groups to be engaged and involved in the services. I love when we have visitors and when their kids are excited because they will be sitting at a table together and there are things on the table for them to play/learn with. And I love when I see someone understand a Biblical truth in a way they never had before.
But Ministry is not easy. In fact, sometimes it is just hard. Sometimes the people don't come. Sometimes the weather causes you to not have service (which can make funds tight). Sometimes there simply isn't the money you hoped would be there. Sometimes our events are well planned, but poorly attended, and our plans to build the church fail. Sometimes we can get discouraged.
I love the book of Philippians. It has been my "go to" Book of the Bible whenever I needed encouragement for many years. Philippians 1:6 says, "being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will be faithful to carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." In this passage Paul is talking about our personal spiritual walks, about how we should continue to grow in our walk to be like Jesus, but it applies in times of discouragement as well because on our journey with Christ, things will not always go smoothly. There will be times of trouble and pain. But this verse reminds us that God is still faithful during those times as well and that HIS work goes on in our lives if we keep following Him.
As I think about it, Paul was sitting in jail as he wrote those words. To those outside the church, he probably looked like a failure because he was sitting in a jail cell instead of being out doing "church work", but God used Him in mighty ways while he was in jail and gave him opportunities to reach others for the Lord that he would not have gotten any other way. Paul continued to grow in his walk with the Lord and went wherever the Lord led him on that journey and in doing so, God used him to reach countless others for the Kingdom, but probably not through the avenues Paul might have envisioned for himself...but it was never about what Paul might have envisioned.
It is important for us to remember that just because things are not going according to OUR plans, doesn't mean that God's plan has changed. If God calls you to do something and you know that God has put it on your heart, then do it. You must go where He sends you and do what He leads you to do. Don't be discouraged because the results don't look like what you thought they would look like. What looks like failure to you could be the exact steps God needed you to take so that HIS plan could flourish. Keep going. Keep believing. Keep praying. Keep working. If HE gave you to plan, then HE will make the results come on HIS timetable...not yours. For us, this can be very frustrating because we want to see God working. We want results! But God is very often working behind the scenes in ways that we could never dream and when HE is ready, then we will see results. Our job, is simply to follow HIS leading. Whatever He asks, wherever He leads, through whatever difficulties might come our way...we keep going. We keep trusting. We keep following the path that He sets out for us. And we can rest in the knowledge that HE will walk with us and when we get to the end of the road, we will be able to look back and say, "Wow...Look at what God did. I'm so glad He let me be a part of it."
Until next time...