Every morning of your ministry, you'll wake up with some emotion in your soul.
Some mornings you'll wake up with fear and dread, recalling a painful crisis the night has not taken away. Some mornings you'll wake up discouraged, overwhelmed and overburdened by your shepherding responsibilities. Some mornings you'll wake up angry and bitter, feeling underappreciated, undervalued, and misunderstood.
Every morning of your ministry, it won't be hard to find reasons to complain or feel discouraged. But every morning, you'll have an opportunity to experience a comfort from the Lord that overwhelms all these negative emotions.
Here are 5 reasons why you can experience comfort each morning of your ministry, or on the contrary, 5 reasons why you may be experiencing dread and discouragement each morning of your ministry.
1. Never Alone
It's critical to remember that you're never alone in ministry. God, the One whom you represent, is an ever-loving and ever-faithful Father. He knows exactly what you need and has covenantally committed himself to meeting each one.
When you wake up thinking it's you against the world, you're going to experience all kinds of fear and discouragement. But when you wake up knowing that God has you where he wants you, and he's with you every step of the way, you can experience comfort no matter the circumstances.
2. Never Unequipped
You also need to remember that between the "already" and the "not yet" of ministering to fallen people in a fallen world, you've been blessed with right here, right now enabling grace. Each morning as you awake to your ministry calling and burdens, God blesses you with new mercies form-fit for the issues of the specific day.
God knows (and you should know by now, considering your track record of failure) that you're not independently up to the task, so he daily blesses you with his empowering grace. When you forget that you've been empowered for the specific task at hand, it's easy to give up and feel overwhelmed.
3. Never Judged
I purposefully included a phrase in the point above that should have hurt your feelings - "considering your track record of failure." Before you defend yourself, isn't it true? Haven't you failed in many ways during your ministry career?
Because of grace, you don't have to drag into the new ministry day the paralyzing burden of yesterday's sin, weakness, foolishness, and failure. You don't have to fear what will be exposed next. You don't have work to portray to yourself and others a person you're not.
You can be genuine and honest about places where you need to grow. You've been blessed with forgiveness that allows the next day to be a new day, free from the guilt of yesterday. His forgiveness allows you to own your sin, learn your lessons, and move forward with faith and joy.
4. Never In Control
There is a King, and he is not you. You don't have to work yourself into a position of ministry sovereignty. You don't have to shoulder the burdens of a king. You don't have to construct your own kingdom, because God has given you his kingdom, which he perfectly rules for his glory and your good.
This should produce comfort, but it often produces stress in the souls of ministry people. When things appear chaotic, we become demanding, harsh, critical and controlling, because we forget to remind ourselves that while things are outside of our control, they're never beyond the rule of his.
5. Never Defeated
This is my favorite part about ministry, when I remember it: God’s power is too awesome, his zeal too strong, and his plan too great for me to ever thwart it.
Jesus' plan will march on until his final kingdom has come and his complete will has been done. Yes, you can mess up and momentarily complicate your ministry. But in the middle of the mess, it's important to remember that what you've staked your life and ministry on is never at risk because unshakeable divine zeal is behind it all.
So this week, wake up and smile with comfort in the face of complications. Sure, the challenges of ministry are many and the calling is burdensome, but the One who has sent you has gone out with you.
God would never call you to represent himself and then leave you on your own.