Tuesday, September 2, 2014

fruitless yet rewarded

fruitless may seem worthless...
In my position I get the privilege of encouraging pastors and others in ministry.  You may say to yourself, "It must be nice to be in a position where you spend your days serving the Lord and others...an important job unlike mine just working for a boss that doesn't appreciate me..."

But the fact is that many times those in ministry toil their entire life never really seeing results - yet continue to serve because they are confident in their call none the less.

I read this recently from John Piper, 'When a young replacement asked a retired pastor of a small church how he had the endurance and strength of soul to keep on in the ministry all those years, he said, “The Lord measures the faithfulness of our labor, not our success. I look always to the Lord and not to man.”

There can be periods of life-quenching discouragement that comes from extended periods of apparent fruitlessness.  Over the past 17 years, I have seen our worship guys go through great discouragement over the lack of enthusiasm from our congregational worship.  We've spent time evaluating what we were doing, trying to make changes to make sure it wasn't us that was holding them back.   And then there would come breakthrough seasons like we are in now, where the worship has never been sweeter - the body seeming anxious to gather and worship together...  All we are required of the Lord to do, is to faithfully serve - never promised that we would even see results!

The prophet Isaiah was sent to minister to a people that God knew would not turn to Him.  Talk about a seemingly 'fruitless' season!  Isaiah said this, "I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity, yet surely my right is with the LORD and my recompense with my God. (Isaiah 49:4)

He knew regardless of their response, his reward rested in the Lord, it was the labor required - not success.

Please be encouraged today to continue the labor God has called you to!   Your reward rests in Him!

And continue to pray for us as we work through the process of choosing Crossroads' next pastor.

My prayer throughout the process has not only been for the man God has chosen for us , but for unity in the process.  A process that builds us stronger and closer to one another and to the Lord!  May our labor at Crossroads be sweet to the Lord!

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