Who knew the cost of ministry would be so great? Who knew I would have to pay so much when I decided to pick up my cross and follow after Him? This goes for any one of us whom He chose to follow holy after Him.
Peter was lucky, sort of. He was at least warned. In John 21:15-19 we have the story of Jesus’ return after He had risen from the grave. He asked Peter three times if Peter loved him. This grieved Peter, answering, “You know I love you!” Some have speculated that Christ asked Peter three times to cancel out the three times Peter denied Christ. Still, in the midst of the questions, Jesus instructed Peter, feed my lambs, feed my sheep. He also told Peter about the death he would have, to glorify God, and instructed Peter to “Follow (Him).” We know that Peter was also crucified, but upside down, as he didn’t feel worthy to die in the same manner as Christ. This was the cost of Peter’s ministry – ultimately, his life.
What is/has been the cost of your ministry to date? As I look over my own life, after taking on the responsibility of ministry, I can see the cost there of. A price that not only I have had to pay, but my family as well. I have reflected at times, I never knew all that went into leadership at church. I had no idea what it would cost. There are times I wish to step down, times I wish to throw in the towel, but then I am reminded, not my will, but His will be done.
As I am being stretched at the moment, I wonder, how much more will I have to take? When to do His will costs so much more than I thought I’d ever have to pay. I am reminded of Hannah, giving Samuel, when he was of age, back to the Lord. Not just in word, but she sent him to live with the Prophet Eli in the temple not long after he had weaned. This, I cannot imagine. Which was it: obedience or sacrifice?
You provide the fire, I’ll provide the sacrifice…
Here I stand, faced with my own situation. I am no Hannah, yet I am a mother. My children’s salvations are at the forefront of my heart. Something I have wrestled with since May, was confirmed in June, now they are asking for it on their own – for their own sakes, is to attend church full time with their dad. I must say, I agree, however, the mother in me longs to be able to worship with them. I serve at the church I attend, in various capacities. I can’t just leave. The church they will attend full time is an excellent church! I have no complaints, there is no other place I would recommend they attend… Still, the mother in me longs to worship with them. The mother in me longs to be with them wherever they go. I don’t feel released yet.
I think about the act of being a leader especially in the church. I never realized the opposition that would be faced. No one warned me about the people, personalities, backbiting, etc… I have no desire to be liked by all, but to be lied on, mistreated, talked about – well, I suppose I have Jesus as an example, He endured all of that and more! Of all the things I have been through since becoming a leader at church, I have made it through. There are things that stopped me in my tracks, things that slowed me down, and admittedly, some things still have me not operating to my full capacity. I try to look to Christ and the epistles as my example on how to lead effectively. Still, I feel like I just don’t have it… I just want to step back, or down…
The cost of ministry has become more than I anticipated. I know it’s all worth it in the end… So, maybe I am asking myself the wrong question?