There are times when the ministry is tough-- enough to make you ask, "is this worth it?"
Let me tell you clearly: it is.
Every now and then, God will send encouragement your way to stoke the fires for ministry. Here are a few recent examples from my ministry:
- In an e-mail received on a Monday morning: "Just wanted to let you that the message was so good. We are so happy to have you as our pastor."
- A conversation with a couple just before worship a few weeks ago: "We wanted to tell you that you have helped us to love church again. Before we started coming here, we had almost reached the point where we didn't even want to go to church anymore. Through your teaching, your preaching, and your love for us, you've helped us get excited about church. Now we look forward to every time we come."
- In a note I received today: "Your sermon Sunday was an answer to prayer. Having suffered a harsh remark from someone I respect, I have harbored ill will toward them. This has troubled my soul. Thank you for pointing me to God's Word on that very subject and giving me hope that I can get past the hurt to pray for God's mercy for both of us. His message was what I needed to hear!"
John Piper recently blogged about "How can I bless my Pastor?" His take-away point was, "I want to see lives changed." When you're in ministry, God can and does use you to change lives-- and He will sometimes grant you encouragement that you have done exactly that.
That's what makes ministry worth it.