It's easy for people to get the wrong idea about serving in vocational ministry. They see the events, activities, and so called "perks" and think that it's an easy life that we're so lucky to have.
What is not seen is the other side of ministry....the real day to day physical and spiritual battles. The exhaustion, frustration and inadequacy that we feel. The personal attacks from Satan. They don't see all of the hours of work and sacrifice that are a part of every day, every event, every activity, every conversation.
Our world is full of broken, hurting people. The needs in our own backyard are overwhelming.Young women are allowing themselves to be used by young men to feel love. Young men are satisfying their flesh with pornography and sexual conquests. Both are turning to drugs and alcohol to numb the pain, hurt and emptiness in their lives.
So many young people are making choices that cause pain, destruction and even death because they have no hope. They don't want to be patronized. They want real answers that will bring real life change. They want someone to care enough to walk alongside them. They want someone who is willing to get their hands dirty. They want someone who is willing to give without expecting anything in return.
They want someone to come down into the trenches with them and show them the way out. They want someone who will be available to them in a moment of crisis or when they just need to talk. Someone who does not see them as a burden or inconvenience.
Ministry done God's way is not easy or glamorous but it is an eternal investment. The difficulties and challenges you experience will keep you on your knees crying out to God. There will be many days when you feel like giving up and throwing in the towel. Your friends and family may tell you that you are crazy to keep serving. But the thought of not serving seems crazier to you.
You know that what you are doing is what God has called you to do. You know that he will equip you with what you need right when you need it. You know that ministry is not glamorous but it is glorious. And that's why you do it all....to bring glory to Christ.
There are moments in life when God reminds us that his timing his perfect. Moments when He's working things out behind the scenes that we know nothing about. Moments when all you can say is "Only God". Moments like today.
My paycheck comes to me via mail. Due to some bank processing issues, my check is being mailed later than expected. As we looked at our account and expenses for the week, we knew we had a problem. There was no way we would make it through the week without a little extra financial help.
As Rich was sharing the situation with a friend, he generously offered to help us out. When Rich met with him today, he was asking questions about the jeep and how much gas it takes to get Rich to all of his ministry stuff. Our jeep has been the most dependable vehicle we have ever owned. And for a brief time, it was our only vehicle. However, it takes a lot of gas to keep it running. A lot of gas means a lot of money. As they talked this friend said, "Would you like a Taurus? I bought this car and I've been praying about a missionary that could use it. I want you to have it."
What?!?! How do you explain that? What logical explanation is there that makes sense? "Only God" is the only explanation. Only God could take the inconvenience of a delayed paycheck and turn it into the gift of a car.
Think about it. If my check would have arrived on time then we wouldn't have needed help from a friend. Rich wouldn't have met with the friend today and had the conversation about the gas mileage of the jeep. The friend wouldn't have offered us the car.
We serve an amazing God that is constantly at work in our lives and in the lives of those around us. We must trust in His plan and His timing. Most times we don't see what He is doing. But sometimes.....sometimes he gives us a glimpse into how He's working everything for our good. We just have to recklessly abandon our hopes and dreams for this life on earth. We have to throw down our nets, leave behind our boats and follow Jesus.