Have you ever considered why someone would be in ministry? I mean what are the rewards? Ministry is filled with many hardships. There are times we must do things, hear things and see things that we would rather not. I have watched marriages and families crumble and fall apart. I have attempted to help steer young adults away from drugs or other destructive behaviors only to watch them fall away. I have seen people die and I have done many funerals.
Do we do ministry because the money is good? If you consider the hours that many pastors put in the money is next to nothing. To be honest with you, even if a pastor only worked 40 hours a week the pay is not that great, especially when you consider the education that many pastors have acquired.
So how do we handle difficulties of ministry? The times when we are misunderstood? Maybe even the times when we stumble?
2 Corinthians 6:4-10 Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.
Paul speaks of reconciliation and of restored relationships. His desire is to be reunited in Christ with the people of Corinth. And there are times we ask to be reconciled, to be restored and forgiven. But through these difficult times we do not stumbling blocks (6:3) for others to get tripped up on. No as ambassadors for Christ (5:20) we suffer the hardships because we are loyal to our homeland. But as ambassadors we also try to negotiate a treaty with those separated from us. We speak in behalf of the One that sent us.
Ministry gives us the opportunity to serve and protect, not as a policeman, but in ways that allow us to be available to our church family. We protect as a father protects a child. We love as a parent loves their children. We hold nothing back, especially our love. May we never have to ask for our church family’s affects in return.
2 Corinthians 6:11-13 We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians, and opened wide our hearts to you. We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us. As a fair exchange--I speak as to my children--open wide your hearts also.