Are you a pastor? Youth minister? Evangelist?
Perhaps you are involved in foreign ministry. Your service takes you far from home.
Or, perhaps you have left your secular job to work for the Church.
If so, chances are you have felt, or will feel, very discouraged.
According to statistics, 1,500 pastors leave their jobs every month. 70% don’t have any close friends, and over half would switch careers if they could.
And ministering in other areas is difficult as well.
Those who enter ministry are often expected to work for free, and are accused of greed when asking for donations to cover basic living expenses. Yet they give continually: time, effort, love, a listening ear, and an encouraging word.
This kind of work-exchange is illegal in the secular world; yet it’s the norm in ministry.
So what gives? Why does anyone in their right mind enter ministry?
For me, it boils down to a few verses found in Matthew, Mark, and Luke.
On this very day 2,000 years ago, Jesus had just finished explaining to the rich, young ruler what was needed for eternal life. As the young man retreated under a burden of sadness, Jesus stared long and hard at him.
Finally, He said, “How hard it is for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God!”
Hearing this, the disciples were understandably concerned. After all, their Leader had just forecast how few rich people would enter Heaven. In an attempt to solidify their position in the Kingdom, however, the disciples asked Jesus, “Yes, he may not go to Heaven because he’s rich – but we’re all going, right? After all, we’ve given up everything to follow you!”
There is fear in the disciples’ question. And understandably so. Many had left families and livelihoods to follow Jesus.
They needed to know what was in it for them.
And Jesus, the tender, compassionate, understanding Savior, gave them the reassurance they needed.
“Let me tell you something,” He said with conviction to His followers. “There is not a person who has left everything – families, houses, and livelihoods – for My sake or the sake of the Gospel that won’t receive a hundred-fold in this lifetime. In addition to eternal life.”
Are you telling me that if I leave everything to follow Jesus, I’ll receive a hundred-fold in this lifetime, and eternal life? Sounds like an irresistible deal. Sign me up!
Yes, it’s true. God always rewards far more than we give. The old adage that you can’t out-give God is certain. He will repay you for your decision to follow Him – and not only will He return the effort, you’ll receive a hundred-fold.
All this, in addition to a seat in Heaven. What could be better?
Even so, it’s still extremely tough to be a pastor. To be in ministry. To be an evangelist. The work is often consuming, and if you’re a Bible prophecy watcher the work can be frustrating, lonely, and sad.
However, the rewards are worth it.
So today, hug a pastor. If he’s blessed you, tell him. Get him a Starbucks. Tell his family their sacrifice is appreciated. I guarantee he’ll never forget you.
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