To the Finish Line!

I am not a runner, but my younger sister used to run cross-country in high school. I went to one of her meets and saw the struggle for endurance on her face; it took all I had not to burst into tears when I saw her almost collapse as she crossed the finish line. What a victory! I was so proud of her that day!

Paul loved to use the analogy of a race to describe our journey as Christians on earth. After remembering my sister’s struggle to get to the finish line, it was easier to relate that analogy to my journey in ministry. Although new to ministry, my husband and I have already endured 3 really tough years at a former church. There were times we wanted to throw in the towel, to leave ministry, to abandon the calling. Luckily we both were able to talk one another off the ledge by reminding the other of the calling God had placed on their life. 1 Corinthians 7:17 says, “Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned him, and to which God has called him.”  Sometimes it is easy to forget the calling God gave us for His kingdom when our circumstances in ministry become stressful and sometimes depressing. At times like this it is important to be a rock for your spouse, to lift them up in prayer and encourage them to continue the race.

One scripture that really helped me deal with some of the destructive situations within the church was Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” I myself, included! None of us are perfect, so why do we expect the church to be perfect? I think we start to forget who the real enemy is, Satan. He uses his lies and our sin to devastate us and divide the church. Let’s stop pretending that the church is perfect and change our expectation of the interaction between sinners within the church while still enforcing our collective goal to be more like the Church Christ intended us to be. 1 Timothy 3:15 says, the church is a pillar and buttress of truth. This is our collective goal as members of the congregation to be pillars of truth. Goals are a desired result, which may come with struggles along the way, but as long as we keep our eyes on Jesus, and the word of God, we are working towards that goal. Which leads me to the most important part of longevity in ministry, to continually rejuvenate your soul by reading and studying the word of God.

There are many times I catch myself getting caught up in drama or negative emotions; these are signals for me to read the word! Once I get my “word fix” a.k.a. prayer and bible time, I am usually able to overcome some temptations such as gossip and judging others. Another way that helps me to rejuvenate is serving in areas or ministries outside of my church. This allows me to get away and pour into ministries God has laid on my heart. There is nothing more rewarding than to see another Christian grow from my openness to being a vessel for Him.

So let us strive to endure the calling God has placed on our lives to be vessels; even when times get tough, when we want to give up, when we are tempted to fall into sin. Because how great will it be to one-day say, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have kept the faith.” 2 Timothy 4:7.  The real beauty of it all is that the finish line here on earth is only the beginning to what God has in store for us! So, from the words of Paul, “Brothers and sisters never get tired of doing good.” 2 Thessalonians 3:13.


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