The Hard Side of Ministry

The Hard Side of Ministry

Do you ever wish your life was like someone you see in ministry? Do you think that those in ministry must have easier lives?

Perhaps you are in ministry and your path is hard.

It is tempting to look at our pastors, our worship leaders, recording artists, our Sunday school teachers and want what they have. The reality is that they have their struggles too. They have flat tires on the way to work. They have bad hair days. Our pastors and teachers spend countless hours studying. Our worship leaders and recording artists practice until they are hoarse or their hands are calloused. They all risk rejection and scrutiny. We just don’t see that side of their ministry. We didn’t see the early days when they shared their vision for ministry to one person at a time. We didn’t get to glimpse those times when the funds didn’t meet the demand. That’s the part of ministry no one covets.

Ever since I was young I have had a fascination with lighthouses. They always seemed so glamorous. They provide a beacon of hope to the lost and weary. I never thought of the assault they take from the elements. How often do we want the glamorous, but not the assaults that come with the job?

Let me challenge you to realize we are all in ministry of some kind. That is what Jesus meant when He called the disciples “fishers of men.” The path God has us on may look entirely different from that of our pastors and worship leaders, but we are ministers of the gospel nonetheless.

Fishers of Men

We are all called to ministry – to be fishers of men.

Your “platform” may be your children. Or the other mothers on the PTA. Or the customers who come into your business. Or even the clerk at the local grocery store or gas station.

I encourage you not to get lulled into wishing your ministry was easy. How can we expect our ministry calling to be easy when nothing about Jesus’ ministry was easy?! It is wishful thinking to desire that being in the center of God’s will should make our path comfortable.

In actuality, our path may line up straight, but that path may still be laden with rocks and stones and thorns, and mountains and valleys. Jesus was tempted by the devil himself. He turned over the tables of those who were misled. He longed for rest but was followed by crowds demanding more from Him and in His compassion He healed them.

The disciples were asked to do what they perceived to be the impossible. When they were met by thousands of hungry people, the disciples first told Jesus to send the crowds away to buy themselves food. Rather than agreeing with them, Jesus told the disciples to feed the crowd. Now, Jesus came through for them and performed the miracle they needed, but can’t you just see them running around, fretting, and perhaps even momentarily wishing they weren’t in a ministry that required them to do what they thought was impossible?

It wasn’t easy for Peter to get out of the safety of his boat during the storm, but as long as he kept his eyes and focus on Jesus, he was safe and in the middle of God’s will.  It was only when he took his eyes off Jesus and focused on his own abilities that he began to sink.

When what is required of us in ministry is hard, may we answer the call with faith in Him who makes all things possible in His right time. It is there that He receives the glory, and we experience great joy and satisfaction. “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26 NLT).

Is there an area in your life, your ministry, that seems too hard? How will you trust God to make the seemingly impossible possible?