Ministry is hard. Is that a revelation to anyone besides me?
As I was preparing a Bible Study for the More Than A Blog course a few weeks ago, I came across a verse that has been bouncing around in my heart ever since. Just before David’s death, he handed the reins to his son, Solomon, and the last advice this great king gave to a future great king was:
Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the Lord is finished. 1 Chronicles 28:20 (NIV)
I don’t know about you, but that makes me shake in my flip flops a little bit! You might think a father would give his son some fluffy final words … “You are awesome, you’ll be a great king, you are ready for this, it will be easy!”
But no. David knew better than that. After battling Goliath, Saul and the consequences of his own sin, David knew that being a king was hard, and it would take every bit of strength and courage that his son could muster up. He also knew it would take one more thing.
Ministry is Hard, so Do the Work
Ministry is messy. Serving people takes guts and a thick skin.
Ministry can be lonely. Most of what we do is never seen.
Ministry most definitely takes work.
Sometimes we put an encouraging post or helpful subscriber freebie out there or hang up our shingle offering coaching or counsel, and then expect that God (or Google) is going to send the flood of people our way. Unfortunately, it doesn’t usually happen that way.
So do the work. Hone your craft and expand your knowledge and experience. Dig deep into what your audience needs (which may be different than what is easy for you to provide). Get over your own insecurities and false humility to share the amazing gifts God has planted in you.
You know I am all about having a plan, but at some point, we have to step away from our mind maps, checklists and vision boards and just do.the.work. The world needs your message and your gifts. So do the work of putting it out there.
Maybe you are saying (or whining), “But I AM doing the work! I’m up late after the kids go to bed, writing and making Pinterest-perfect graphics. I take courses, get advice, sacrifice time and money I could spend on my family, and NOTHING is happening!”
Then the next part of the verse is for you.
Ministry is hard, but Do not be afraid or discouraged
Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you.
This is not David patting his little boy on the head and soothing him with encouraging words when the thunder is rumbling outside. “Don’t be afraid, big guy. It’s gonna be okay.”
No. This is a king giving a command to a grown man. Do not be afraid. Do not be discouraged. My God …
… the God that gave me victory over Goliath
… the God that protected me from Saul
… the God who did not give up on me when I failed
Yes, MY God will be with you.
The Lord gave Joshua these same commandments.
Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9 (NIV)
God gives us the same commands today. When we give in to the fear and discouragement, we forget that the Lord our God is with us, just as He was with Joshua, with David and with Solomon. We forget that He started this thing and He will finish it.
Ministry is hard, so finish the work
He will not fail or forsake you until ALL the work for the service of the temple of the Lord is finished.
Is that a promise you need to grab hold of today? God, who gifted you, inspired you and gave you all the resources you need to complete your assignment, will not fail or forsake you until ALL of the work is FINISHED!
You know what that says to me? He is not giving up on us, even if we are tempted to give up on the work. If the work is not finished, God has promised that He will not fail or forsake us until it is. So we might as well do the work in service to Him.
And guess what …. I have a sneaky suspicion that as soon as this work is finished, He’s got another assignment waiting with my name on it. With your name on it.
So DO the work.
FINISH the work.
And don’t be discouraged. The Lord God, MY God, will be with you.
Share what “doing the work” looks like for you and your ministry. I’d love to hear about the great things God is doing with your gifts!