I was standing side-stage, watching the night like I had many times before.
As I was leaning against the short wall separating the stage from the seats, I felt a tap on my shoulder. As I turned around, I was met by the face of a man in his late thirties. He began speaking, but I couldn’t make out what he was saying. As I leaned my ear closer to him I simply heard him say, “Thank you. I’m a pastor in the area, and I was just about to quit ministry but my wife drug me to this tonight. And… well, now I’ve decided to stay in ministry!”
He went on to explain with tears in his eyes how difficult the years had been. How he was beginning to forget the calling God had on his life, and–like so many others–was being overwhelmed with the difficulties of ministry. The friendships that end over disagreements. The stress that comes on your family when they are put under a microscope. And–let’s face it–low pay on top of many hours of overtime, just watch a freight train of never-ending Sundays barreling down on you.
Ministry is overwhelming.
But as he stood there with his wife smiling, I could see the Goliath of those issues slain in his eyes. I saw someone who was reminded who he had on his side, and the irrevocable nature of God’s calling. In the face of an overwhelming situation, he was resolving to stay steadfast in his work in ministry.
This last OUTCRY tour we started doing pastors gatherings. We had a heart to see the ones who rarely receive encouragement, get encouraged. It has become my favorite part of the tour this year. We saw almost 2,000 pastors come out in April and I looked forward to every one.
But this story blew me away. I was in tears as he talked to me, all while standing with the amazing wife who dragged him to OUTCRY! And it reminded me of the amazing privilege it is to do ministry.
Maybe you are facing the prospect of giving up. Maybe the relationships have gotten “too hard.” Or maybe a financial situation has become overwhelming. One thing I know is that you are facing something. We all are.
James 1:2-4 says: Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Persevere. Don’t give up. Being steadfast in the face of difficult or grating circumstances produces a depth in your character. It produces a spiritual maturity that you can’t get any other way.
Don’t skip over character development to get to your vision faster. Press in, and know who stands behind you and who called you here. Jesus has not forgotten you. Rest in that today and keep going!