How many of you would take a job if you found out you would have to work 40 hours but would only get paid for 4 of the 40 hours? They can only sweeten the pot by guaranteeing you an awesome package when you die. It would be safe for me to say that none of you would do that. As I began to reflect on ministry, that is exactly what I and others who surrendered to God’s call on their life signed up for. You may ask, “How so?”
Isaiah 6:8-13 says this, “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” And He said, “Go, and tell this people: ‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; Keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’ “Make the heart of this people dull, And their ears heavy, And shut their eyes; Lest they see with their eyes, And hear with their ears, And understand with their heart, And return and be healed.” Then I said, “Lord, how long?” And He answered: “Until the cities are laid waste and without inhabitant, The houses are without a man, The land is utterly desolate, The LORD has removed men far away, And the forsaken places are many in the midst of the land. But yet a tenth will be in it, And will return and be for consuming, As a terebinth tree or as an oak, Whose stump remains when it is cut down. So the holy seed shall be its stump.” Do you see it? A tenth…will return. In Luke 17, there were 10 lepers. How many returned to thank Jesus for their healing? One!
So we ask a question about motive – Do we minister because of the benefits, what it does to our ego, or that it brings glory to God? After several years in this, I can say that it can be rewarding yet discouraging. It can inflate yet deflate your ego and put you where you should be. When you and I come to the point where we do it for Jesus and Him alone, that is when we find our greatest joy.
You may be considering ministry because you’ve seen these big churches with awesome music and preachers with charismatic personalities, and you think that is what it will be like for you. There is that possibility. But it could very likely be that you will give your life to sharing Christ and living by the Word yet have what you consider to be a minimal return. Scripture says that the Word will not return void. God’s Spirit will work. The issue will be what people do with God’s message.
The bottom line is that the return may not seem like much on Earth. You will feel like you wasted some time doing the Lord’s work. Take comfort in knowing that any work for the Lord is not in vain (I Corinthians 15:58) and that the eternal rewards are well worth it. “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9 ESV