Monday

When Ministry Hurts


One of the dangers of caring for people is that sometimes we get hurt in the process. It's a fact of life, and love, and ministry.

We cannot pour ourselves out and hold ourselves back. As Paul said in Second Corinthians 6:1, "We have . . . opened wide our hearts to you . . .  not withholding our affection . . . " 



To not enter into a covenant of trust would be to shortchange relationships and hinder fellowship.

". . . you have such a place in our hearts that we would live or die with you," he said in 2 Corinthians 7:3.

R.C. Sproul, Jr. describes ministry this way: "The hardest thing about being a pastor is the pain of watching the sheep you love banging their heads against the wall until their wool is like scarlet. The hardest thing about being a shepherd is the pain of loving the sheep."

But what is the alternative? 
To do anything less than love with our whole hearts is not to love as Jesus loves.
"Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another" (1 John 4:10-11).
"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers" (1 John 3:16).
  

"So I will very gladly spend for you everything I have and expend myself as well" (2 Corinthians 12:15).
 Wholehearted ministry--No regrets. 

























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17 comments:

  1. This was an encouragement to me reevaluate my "love my neighbor" gage. I have one that is particularly difficult for me to love. I am praying and waiting for God to tell me "GO! Make peace with your neighbor!". I do not really want to...I just do not trust...I want to say "the neighbor" but I think it is more that I am not trusting God to take control over the situation. More prayer required. Thanks for the reminder!

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    1. Donao, you're wise to be sensitive to the voice of the Holy Spirit. He'll not only lead you, he'll empower you too. I've found praying for the other person helps tremendously. Some wise sage said that it's impossible to pray for a man and hate him at the same time :) Thanks for stopping by.

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  2. Hi Lori! Nice to meet a Sister in Christ and a fellow Rhode Islander (transplanted!. Yes to your thoughts...and not an easy yes, right. It all costs. If it cost our Master everything, then we who follow Him can expect these. Good reminder and encouragement though because we do lose perspective in the battle. And we need to sharpen, remind and encourage one another. Let's keep in touch. Following you !

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  3. Hi, Lori. Good post. short but solid.
    A professor at CIU once used Proverbs 14:4 to point out that Christians working together is usually a bit messy, but a clean stable is unproductive, so it's obviously worth the mess.
    Wondering if you're dealing with a mess right now since you were prompted to write this and praying it produces some good ministry in the process.
    Bless you,
    Gail

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  4. I ABSOLUTELY love this!!! I've been devastated by loving people, but The Lord Constantly reminds me so did HE. I'm so sad to hear the theme of so many ministries these days is "BOUNDARIES"...SIGH. Thank you, thank you for your encouragement!!!

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    1. Love,

      When I picture Jesus weeping brokenheartedly over Jerusalem, I know that my tears a just a tiny bit of what he experiences every day. May we share in the fellowship of his suffering so we can also enter into his JOY! Thanks for stopping by :)

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  5. This is something I struggle with, especially when it comes to ministering and witnessing to loved ones. Thanks for the reminder!

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  6. Thank you for commenting on my blog. It seems like we have a lot in common. I am rediscovering a long dormant love of writing. My heart's desire is to encourage other moms not only in homeschooling but in being transparent with each other as we walk through difficult things. My husband went back to school in his late 40's to be worship pastor and has started his first part time job at a church. I look forward to reading more about you! Have a blessed day1

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    1. Wow, Marty, my husband went back to finish a degree in his early 40's, and finally was able to serve in an "official" capacity as a part-time youth minister after 20+ years of lay ministry. As for me, when I someone told me that I could never make a living out of writing, I chose a more "sensible" profession, then the Lord led us to homeschool our daughters. It was while I educated them that God reignited my love for writing. One thing led to another, and my first book was born, a devotional for homeschooling moms, of all things :) A wise counselor at a writer's conference said, "Write what you know," so I did! God bless you as you seen to honor him through your writing. You'll never know where it might take you!

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  7. Right on. We so wish we could love and still keep our hearts safe, but it is impossible. In this place where sin still exists, love is costly, and it involves our suffering.

    So glad that He has promised to uphold us as we love, to fill us with the love that He asks us to give.
    Emily
    www.weakandloved.com

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    1. Emily, you're right-- we love because he first loved us. And even then, it's hard. But I know the rewards are worth it. What if people hadn't loved us to Christ? Thanks for stopping by :)

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  8. Lori, another great post. You used some of my favorite verses. Thanks for linking up over at Haven of Rest.

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    1. Always a pleasure to visit your fine site, Judith :)

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  9. Lori...it can break our heart sometimes because we become invested in the lives we are ministering to. Thank you for a wonderful post and for sharing at WJIM. Blessings.

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    1. I'm so glad Scripture records Jesus's tears. . . they remind me that He understands and has walked the path ahead of me as my example -- it's a lot of comfort, isn't it? Thanks for stopping by!

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  10. Yes! What you say here is so very true. Thank you for this gentle, yet powerful reminder!

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  11. This is so true. Loving well is costly- the pouring out of ourselves as Jesus poured out (Phil 2:1-11).
    Nice to see you via Laura Krokos' site. I blog at Thorns and Gold - on the Bile, suffering and the messy edges of life.

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