Previously, I explored some hazards of ministry – discouragement, disillusionment with people, and a lack of being able to see results from our efforts. While these are legitimate struggles, they are not the final word.
Every job and anything we attempt for the Kingdom will have obstacles to overcome and battles to be fought. While it might be tempting to focus only on the negative, we must move to the positive if we want to succeed in our calling.
I am not sure exactly what Peter means by this verse, but it is a motivation to not give up!
And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. —1 Peter 3:4
Peter was specifically talking to elders and pastors and whatever Peter meant, this reward speaks of honor, acknowledgment and the fact that it does not fade, won’t need polishing, and will not disappear. We also know that the Lord gives this crown to faithful shepherds that did not quit. Nice.
Paul echoes Peter’s call to not give up:
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
As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good. —2 Thessalonians 3:13
In addition to receiving an eternal crown by not quitting, we are given the opportunity to study the Book of all books. We are often paid to become an expert on the living Word of God. As we study the scriptures our minds are renewed and our hearts are changed. What a blessing we have in our calling to share God’s Word with others. Many would love to have the opportunity we have as part of our calling.
No matter how vague or difficult it might be to see the fruit of our labors, we have them. Like George Bailey of "It’s a Wonderful Life" fame, our life touches many. Most of us will not be given insights like old George was through the workings of his clumsy angle Clarence, but the truth shared in that movie is deep.
Our lives touch many others. Our words matter and often far beyond what we think. We may not be able to see the full results of our interaction with others, but there is One that does and He is a rewarder of those that seek Him.
We do our best and trust the Lord with the results of that effort. We cannot control the outcome or make people change. Our job is to pray, seek, share and trust. God is the One that is in the life changing business; we are often the tool He uses.
Perhaps we will spend part of time in eternity (though I know “time” is not the right word, I am not sure how else to communicate this) reviewing our earthly life. As we do, God will unwrap all He was doing through us, with us, and often in spite of us. We will be moved to worship as we see His glorious hand and plan and the impact we made by serving Him in the ministry.
Additionally, as we serve others in the ministry, we will develop many relationships. We will be given the opportunity to love others unconditionally, serve them willingly, and pray for them constantly. What may surprise us is that many others will be doing the same for us.
Yes, there are challenges and heartaches in the ministry, but there is also joy, peace, love, service, the Scriptures to explore and our God to love. There is a crown awaiting those that faithfully serve the Lord, and these are but a few reasons to bother!