Have you ever invested time and energy into something and then it just didn’t work the way it was *supposed* to? I mean, just last night, I was working away at making some egg rolls for our dinner and I followed my recipe just as I have done in the past and something went very wrong! I’m not sure what happened but they did not turn out like my egg rolls in the past at all! Disappointing!
What about people, have you ever invested your time, energy, prayers, and resources into others and then had them disappoint you? You shared the truth with them and they just turned and walked away or even worse, they didn’t care? Very disappointing.
I know there have been several times when I poured my life into others and it seemed to have no affect on them. They went on their merry little way and just did what they wanted to instead of following the straight and narrow path for their life. Sometimes I took their decision to walk away from God personally. I took it as a personal rejection. Maybe that is ridiculous to feel that way, but I’m just being real here.
At the conference my husband and I recently attended a speaker said something during one of the sessions that I really needed to hear. It was a gentle reminder that the Lord used to encourage my heart. He said something along the lines of, if we are in ministry for the people, we will quit. Boy, how true is that? How many times have I gone home, nearly in tears, completely drained and said, “I’m done! They don’t care so why should I?” Again, maybe I shouldn’t be confessing this publicly, but that is the honest truth. The speaker went on to share that when we serve because we love the Lord and while we are serving others we are ultimately serving Him, it puts a whole new meaning on everything.
Sometimes we feel the need to be appreciated and want recognition for all that we have done. It is easy to forget that the rewards for what we do here on earth are remembered in Heaven. There is One who sees all we do for His names sake and He doesn’t forget. Loving my neighbor as myself is not necessarily easy if that neighbor is a difficult one, but I have found that when I take the time to spend time with the Lord first and let Him fill my cup, I have more patience and love for those that tend to be more difficult.
It is also good for me to remember that I was once a not so lovable person. As a teen I was teetering between my flesh and the Holy Spirit. I had a stinkin’ attitude and I clearly remember a few people in my life who loved me the same no matter what. Can you believe my own Youth Pastor prayed this prayer in front of me, “Break her heart so she will love and live for You”? Yes, he cared that much. I remember the day when I was 15 that the Lord did break my heart. The release of anger and bitterness was a tremendous weight off of my shoulders. The tears I held back for 2 long years gave way and I repented. What a wonderful day that was. I don’t even want to think about where I would be had it not been for those faithful few who prayed for me and let the Lord use them to love me back to Him.
In the trenches, when it seems that no one is being affected by the ministry God has placed us in, it is so very important to remember that God is the One we are ultimately serving. We are not responsible for the choices that others make, we are only responsible to live and do what God says we are to do. When sharing God’s Word with others we can bank on the fact that His Word will not return void.
Don’t give up! Keep pressing on! Though you and I may not see the impact we are making on the lives of others because of God working through us, keep plugging away. God is using you and I in ways that we can’t even see. Serve because you love the One Who saved your soul! Serve and keep loving because He has just the people in our lives right now that need the love of Christ to be shown through us.