60 Seconds of Pastoral Pondering
-a blog for leaders’
“And now I am bound by the Spirit to go to Jerusalem. I don’t know what awaits me, except that the Holy Spirit tells me in city after city that jail and suffering lie ahead. But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.” Acts 20:22-24 New Living Translation
What if you knew your church wasn’t going to grow explosively …. just that lots of suffering and disappointments awaited your ministry?
What if your future didn’t look sunny and encouraging … just that clouds ahead gave clear evidence that storms were coming?
What if you had lost some of your closest associates in ministry and what you can see ahead looks fairly lonely as well?
What if ministry has been hard and tortuous and the road doesn’t appear to straighten out before you even now?
What if you felt your ‘days of glory’ in ministry were clearly behind you and only uncertainty remained?
What if the cost of ministry to this point in your life might even be higher in the future?
Would you work hard at ‘finishing the work assigned you by the Lord’ or find a shelter beside the road as Jonah did in Jonah 4:5 and wait to see what will happen?
The truth is, we don’t know what lies ahead. The apostle was given information that made the difficulties ahead stand out in bold relief. But unless given a specific word as he received, we have no idea. Our future could hold unbelievable results. Our greatest days could be immediately ahead of us. Or …
We don’t know. We can only carry on with determination and integrity, trusting God to use whatever we face for his honor and glory. The Kingdom must expand. The plans of God must come to pass. The ‘all things working together for good’ will take place.
Regardless of what we see or don’t see ahead, we must keep being obedient to God’s call on our lives. Just as God’s plans preceded our call to ministry, those same plans require faithfulness until their completion.