I knew before we finished scheduling the event the likely outcome. A few would attend, fewer would respond, and the day following the event, if not the actual event day, I would cry. We watched as teachers and leaders alike quickly exited after service, I put on my bravest smile, the one I have developed after years as a pastor’s wife, the one I use to pretend all is fine, while silently agonizing inside. Lord, why? What’s the point? Time and time again He has asked this of us, of my husband, myself, and my children; plan something, teach something, do something. Very often, it feels as though we stand alone, making no waves, no ripples, as though the net we cast in Christ‘s name is a figment of our imagination, and I wonder aloud, Why?
With my words I speak with great conviction, I speak of how important each person in our community is, that if we had to move heaven and earth to reach just one person the love of Christ or the importance of their loving service to Him, it would all be worth it. Somewhere inside my head, I truly believe this to be true. I believe it because I am merely one, and the Son of Man gave up the glories of heaven to descend to our filthy, fallen world, lived perfectly among the poor, died a horrendous death while bearing the full weight of the sin of all humanity for all time, and then resurrected that I might be freed from my heinous sin, that I might live reconciled and an heir with Him as an adopted child of the God of heaven. I believe that, hold that, cherish that truth in my heart. But each time I hear an excuse of why people in our church family could not clear their schedules to learn more of loving and being loved by Him, I feel myself tempted to slip . . .
Are you a leader like me? One who struggles with the realities of ministering to the over-scheduled throngs of Americans? Do you feel surrounded by those who mean well, but . . . Do you feel the guilt weighing you down as you realize that you cannot simply get angry at them, and but for the grace of God, you are the same.
My heart was breaking again, and I stared at our calendar, knowing two more events that the Lord had asked me to schedule – both would require faith to follow through, but I couldn’t find a mustard seed to plant. I stared at the calendar and thought, no. I shook my head in frustration, why should I bother? Why put myself through the agony? I had a book reading coming up, a conference to attend, and several other ministry items to attend to … people obviously didn’t care, I didn’t want to anymore.
So I prepared to teach at our mommy group and my eyes filled with tears as encouragement flooded me. My friend, who was putting feet to her faith, who had struggled to make attending church and becoming an active member a priority despite her family’s hectic schedule, sat telling me how sad she was that more people had not attended our missions event. She shared her sorrow at learning of the neediness in other countries and her family’s desire to help. Plans bubbled up as she spoke and hope surged through me as we began to work together.
While crying over the visions I have for where I long God to have me and the reality of where He has placed me for this moment, He brings to mind this dear woman and her newly found passion for ministry, or the memory of a girl and her mother who attended my recent book reading, the memory of our Sunday school’s outreach at the park this summer, or the passion my children now possess for telling others about Christ’s love. I do grow weary of my well-doing, I worry how little I have to offer, until I recognize my focus is on me instead of on God and what He is doing. The truth is, I don’t know every detail of what He is up to or how He is choosing to use me, my family, my writing, my acting, my ministry … but it’s not really mine or even my business to know. It is simply the joy of waking and remembering I don’t serve those who choose to come or go, I serve the Maker of the universe, the Creator of my soul. It is He who graciously reminds me to take heart, He’s not done yet.
Be encouraged! Galatians 6:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:13; Hebrews 12:3
As always, I am blessed to pray for you. Feel free to comment or email a prayer request or an area you are struggling with weariness in