Monday, July 6, 2009

The Power of Focus

Ministry is a joy but . . .

Sometimes ministry can be frustrating.  Sometimes ministry can be hard.  Sometimes ministry can be exhausting.  We can’t escape these aspects of ministry.  The reason ministry can be hard is because ministry involves people and people come with baggage, hurt, pain, anger, bitterness, laziness, etc. 

I’m glad that every follower of Christ is a minister.  Some believers realize this and they roll up their sleeves and serve.  Some choose to ignore this because, “I’m too busy”.  Some ignore this fact due to ignorance, years of the church teaching that the guy up front giving the sermon is the minister.

If you find yourself struggling in ministry (and I’m not just talking to the folks make their living “in ministry”) there are some great verses to be read in 2 Corinthians 4.  I strongly suggest you park there for a while and read the chapter, then read it again, then read it again.  There are a few verses there in that chapter that are an encouragement to me. 

As I read this chapter I thought of the person in ministry who feels like they are banging their head against a wall.  The ministry team who is doing their best to stretch their small team to accomplish the ministry task because other church members choose to sit the bench.  The youth minister who for reasons beyond his control is facing opposition from within his church.  The pastor who finds it a struggle to minister because he has a handful of critics who seem to find joy in making his life miserable and also find joy in throwing out obstacles to keep their church from growing.  I often wonder if those folks aren’t the wolves in sheep’s clothing.  To be honest, in my lifetime, most of the persecution I’ve seen has come from within the church itself.

How do you find the strength to minister?

Now we have this treasure in clay jars, so that this extraordinary power may be from God and not from us. (4:7)

How do you not fold up in ministry and throw in the towel?

Therefore we do not give up; even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day. (4:16)

Why do you keep serving in ministry?

For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. (4:17)

The power to minister comes from your focus.

So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen; for what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (4:18)

So today if you are weary, tired both physically and emotionally.  If you are waking up to the “Monday morning after Sunday blues” I would encourage you to spend some time in 2 Corinthians 4.  Park there, hang out there a while.  Find the source of your strength, resolve not to quit, realize that you are being renewed, think about what awaits in eternity, focus on what is unseen, the eternal.



Thodgson said...

Great post, Andy. Thanks, as this is true in ministry as well as in life - but then we should be ministering in everyday life too....

TerryKM said...

I used this in our staff devotion this morning. Good stuff.

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