The Agonizing Work of Ministry

For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.

–Colossians 1:29

God has called you to be a minister. His primary purpose for your life is not that you would have a happy family, a satisfying career, or a bulging portfolio. God left you here on earth primarily to be His representative, to share His message of hope with others. He has given you and me differing gifts and opportunities for carrying out this work, and one day we will be judged according to how we used what was entrusted to us.

Friend, here’s the truth about our ministry: the work of sharing God’s message is not easy. Paul said in Colossians 1:29, “For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.” The word translated as “labor” means to work to the point of exhaustion. Have you ever worked so hard that you collapsed in a heap at the end of the day? That’s what Paul was getting at here—as ministers of Jesus Christ, we labor to the point of exhaustion. Paul also described ministry as “striving.” That word is translated from the Greek word agonizomai, the root of our English word agonize. Ministry is exhausting, agonizing work.

One reason ministry is so difficult is that it requires time. We have work, family, and household responsibilities—how in the world do we find time to minister? Remember, Paul didn’t collect a regular paycheck from a church or mission organization; he had a secular job to support his ministry work. Ministry is demanding. It’s also difficult because it involves rejection. If you make it your goal to share God’s message with as many people as possible, your message is going to be rejected more than it is accepted. As Christ’s representatives, we have to learn how to handle rejection. Finally, ministry is difficult because Satan does everything he can to thwart our ministry. Anybody involved in ministry is going to face spiritual attacks.

But notice Paul gave us a note of hope. He said we labor and strive “according to His power, which mightily works within [us].” We are not striving alone or even side-by-side with God. Instead, we have God’s power working in us and through us to accomplish His purpose.

We are living in a world that is asking, “Is there any hope?” And you and I have been given the incredible privilege of sharing with the world that yes, there is hope. The hope is this: Christ living in you is the assurance of glory. That’s the gospel message.

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Today’s devotion is adapted from “You Gotta Have Hope” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2011.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.

 

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