A voice says, “Cry!”
And I said, “What shall I cry?”
All flesh is grass,
and all its beauty is like the flower of the field. Isaiah 40:6
The word this week is one I needed to be reminded of: faithful. Sometimes in life as Christians we get discouraged. When those times come we have a tough choice to make. Do allow discouragement to take us down or do we press on and do the work God has called us to accomplish? This week started out like that for me. I was ready to throw in the towel and just walk away. Seeing my church body ramping up the in-fighting as our national convention draws near was heartbreaking. I have talked to enough pastors to know I am not alone in this feeling. When I was in the parish it was a regular Monday morning battle. Ministry is hard, the work of the church seems fruitless. Now working with the church at large, ministry becomes even more daunting. I read a statistic that eighty (80) percent of the churches in America are either dying or stagnant.
As a pastor, my role is not to discourage the sheep but point them to the promise of brighter days. Isaiah is reminded of this by God. Remind the people to be faithful, brighter days are coming. So in this devotion I want to faithfully remind the church, don’t lose heart. Don’t allow Satan to distract you from the mission of Christ and the grace and mercy of God to accomplish the mission. Don’t get into the politcial arena and start throwing mud, instead fix your eyes on Jesus. Ignore the typical things you measure, church attendance and offerings, instead be about the work of an evangelist. Go out and plant seeds of faith it is God who waters it and makes it grow. The results are not drive my your efforts but by the working of the Holy Spirit. I love this illustration of John Wesley.
A lady once asked John Wesley that suppose he was to know that he would die at 12:00 midnight tomorrow, how would he spend the intervening time. His reply: “Why madam, just as I intend to spend it now. I would preach this evening at Gloucester, and again at five tomorrow morning; after that I would ride to Tewkesbury, preach in the afternoon, and meet the societies in the evening. I would then go to Rev. Martin’s house, who expects to entertain me, talk and pray with the family, as usual, retire to my room at 10 o’clock, commend myself to my heavenly Father, lie down to rest, and wake up in Glory.”
You are Lord of All; we come before You asking for the strength to be faithful followers. We know You and You alone solve our problems and can overcome our frustrations. Bring us peace about ministries you have called us to serve. We leave the fruits of work in Your capable hands. We are here to serve you Lord Jesus. Use us. We trust You to guide and protect us. In Jesus Name. Amen.
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