Isaac Stephens, Cross-Cultural Service Senior
If you’ve spent any significant time in Christian service, whether it be summer camps, mission trips, personal discipleship, or even an intensive week of VBS, you’ve most likely learned a simple truth: ministry is very hard.
Ministry is rooted in relationships, and relationships are often messy. Disagreements and disappointments with those we minister to and especially the struggles with our own weaknesses render a lot of challenges as we try to serve.
There was definitely no exception for me this summer. I had the wonderful opportunity to intern with a missionary in Colombia. I served at a couple summer camps during my two-month stay, spent time with students at a newly opened residential seminary, and got involved in weekly Bible study that would eventually become a new church plant. It was such a joy to see the light come on in individual souls as they began to understand God’s love for them. God worked in amazing ways and I felt blessed to have a part!
However, missionary work is not always glamorous.
While God’s power and goodness are never compromised, the reality of our fallen world sets in. Life can become mundane; long periods of time without visible fruit bring discouragement; our own flesh draws out our inadequacies.
Perhaps in your own ministries or relationships you’ve built with people, you’ve quickly experienced small slices of these, if not in full.
For me this summer, I was met with challenges. I barely spoke Spanish, I had to make cultural adjustments, and I battled personal sin struggles. Yet God in His unending goodness brought a particular passage to mind.
1 Corinthians 1:26-29:
“For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.”
In those times of weakness, in those times time when we feel foolish for our faith, that is actually exactly where God wants us to be.
God called you and me in our weaknesses. We have been chosen to serve Him not because of some wisdom or strength that we have in ourselves, but because it provides the perfect stage in which His glory and power may be displayed. Sometimes we wonder how and why God could use us, yet Scripture assures us that our own inadequacies are merely chances for God to show forth His wisdom and strength over the world’s.
So, take heart in this promise! Ministry is for the weak, for the foolish, for the despised. You may feel totally unqualified to share your faith or discouraged in discipling that individual, but know that it’s by God’s power, God’s wisdom, and God’s glory that His work moves forward. He has graced each one of us with the amazing privilege to serve.
Look not on your own strength, but prayerfully and joyfully embrace His enablement as you live to be an ambassador of His love wherever He has called you!
The CGO Blog
Written by the CGO staff, with guest posts from students and other faculty/staff at BJU to provide thought leadership for missions in a new millennium.