There’s an often overlooked reason why ministry really, really frustrates you some days.
It’s actually encoded in something Jesus said.
You might have missed it, even though it’s a teaching you’re likely quite familiar with. Three out of the four different Gospels record it. Here’s one of them:
“You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.” (John 12:8)
Scratching your head?
What I’m referencing isn’t at the end of that sentence, but at the beginning.
The poor will “always” be among us.
This is something God was even saying in the Old Testament:
“There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.” (tbd)
Meanwhile, God says we will always have the poor among us.
How do you process that?
It sounds sort of discouraging, as if He’s letting us know how intangible it is to solve a tangible thing that we know He really, really cares about. Think about it – how many times does the Bible reference God’s concern for the poor?
(Psst – More than 300 verses!)
And yet… even *this* epic value that’s so important to God won’t be completely solved on this side of heaven.
How do you feel about that? More clearly, how do you feel about the fact that whatever your personal passion or platform is in ministry that you will never achieve complete success on it?
You’ll… never… be… done.
It’s like when we were all playing Farmville a few years ago and presumed we could accomplish every task possible around that farm and complete the game. Then all these new tasks popped up, so we completed those, and even more tasks popped up after that.
Which is why you stopped playing Farmville.
Which is why you’re considering resigning from ministry.
Every human being you encounter has room to grow. You’ll never be done ministering to the students and adults in your midst. They will randomly have another need they’ll want your help with. They will randomly say something petty that’ll make you want to wring their neck.
The greatest takeaway from all of this isn’t that you’re supposed to be frustrated by it…but liberated. You give your 100% and entrust God to give His 100%.
So here’s what you do. For six days, faithfully serve and sweat in whatever direction God has pointed you in. Take care of the poor, whether they’re poor in food or poor in spirit.
- Shut your computer down.
- Turn your phone off.
- Put your feet up.
- Take a nap.
- Wake up and enjoy Jesus and your family.
Why? Because you’ll always have the poor among you.
And the “success” of your ministry won’t ever, ever happen in your own energy and timing…but in God’s.
So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”
He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.” (Acts 1:6-7)