I stared with a shattered, hurt, and confused heart. After months of seemingly fruitless ministry, nearing burnout, and doubting that I had understood God correctly, I couldn’t believe the question I was just asked: “I don’t understand. Why do you still bother to do this?” I don’t know what was worse: the fact that this was a “Christian” asking (someone who should “get it”) or the fact that I didn’t have an answer. It was shortly after this that my husband’s job relocated us. When we left, I received two letters from two young ladies in our ministry. I began to cry as I read their accounts of how my witness, example, and faithfulness had profoundly impacted their lives. The ways they could relate to my testimony, I had never known. And all of a sudden, it seemed I had an answer to the question. “This is why I do it!” I wanted to shout to the person who had asked.

Ministry can be hard, discouraging, and seemingly fruitless. In the midst of the trenches it can be so hard to remember why we do what we do. We may begin to question God’s call on our lives and to quit thinking, “What does it really matter anyway?” That is when we need to hang on even tighter to the promises of God’s Word:

“But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved [sisters], be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” – 1 Corinthians 15:57-58, NKJV

When those times of discouragement come, these verses can remind us:

  1. Be steadfast. Stand firm even when the waves of disappointment, and dare I say, failure, are crashing all around, and your heart feels broken. Continue in obedience to the Lord, trust in Him, and He will keep you steadfast. (Psalm 112:7).
  2. Be immovable. Let nothing move you even when facing the discouragement of criticism and doubt. Trust that God will be faithful to provide and/or rescue you. (Psalm 22)
  3. Always abound in the work of the Lord. Give yourself fully to His Kingdom work. God blesses in abundance the one who sows generously her gifts of service to God. By His grace, in every circumstance, He will provide an abundance in our harvest. (2 Corinthians 9:6-15).
  4. Know that your labor is not in vain. We will not always see the harvest this side of heaven. If we had not moved, I don’t know that I would have ever known my influence on those two young ladies. Such it is for many who spend years serving in ministry. But we can be confident that one day we will see those that were pointed to heaven by God’s light in us. (Matthew 5:16).


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