“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you …” (Jeremiah 1:5)
Our teacher that Sunday morning was well-studied and sincere in his exposition of God’s Word. With a PowerPoint presentation as a clear and helpful visual aid, he carefully shared the historical context of Jeremiah in his introduction. Then he walked his listeners through the verses of the first chapter and challenged us to consider what God had to say to His people in Jeremiah’s day and to us today. As he read the words from Jeremiah 1:5, I could not help but think that I was seeing them lived out in front of me through this man.
When we first reached our city of ministry seven years ago, he was a baby believer. He had just recently taken an important step of obedience to the Lord by marrying the mother of his son, and together committing their lives and family to God. Over time he grew spiritually through Biblical discipleship and faithfully served behind the scenes in our church, eventually developing into other roles in ministry.
I can still remember the first few times he stood in front of the congregation to give announcements. His hands visibly trembled and sweat beaded on his forehead. It was painful to watch. Yet today this same man stood comfortably and assuredly as a teacher of God’s Word. My husband was one of those who as a pastor had the privilege of building into this man’s life. At one point during our class he leaned over and whispered to me in admiration, “He is tearing this up!” What a joyful testimony to God’s transforming grace!
These are the blessings of ministry – lives changed by the power of God. We often have the privilege of participating in the work of the Holy Spirit through discipleship and sharing life with one another. Ultimately, however, this transformation is supernatural. What a gift to have a front-row seat to witness it! While there are certainly difficult discouragements along the way and many who do not complete the course, those who do are trophies of God’s goodness. As the apostle John beautifully stated, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth” (3 John 4.)