Text: Matthew 17:14-20
One of the things I struggle with sometimes in ministry is discouragement. I’ve worked with teenagers throughout my 27 years of being in full-time church work, and they have given me countless belly laughs, more than a few really great memories and lots of discouragement! And that discouragement seems to come on the heels of some incredible spiritual mountaintops. As a fellow youth worker, I bet you are nodding your head in complete understanding. The thing that’s hard about discouragement is feeling all alone in it. But we are not alone. It’s probably why I love the story of Jesus and the disciples immediately following their time on the Mount of Transfiguration.
Matthew records the event for us in chapter 17 where the disciples who remained behind were trying without much success to heal a man’s son of demon possession.
“I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him.”
“You unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.” Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed at that moment.
My sense in Jesus’ tone was that He was discouraged. We are not alone in this feeling. Being in ministry means experiencing times of discouragement. I love how Jesus doesn’t give in to the emotion for long, but instead moves to action as He heals the boy and then teaches the disciples about the power of faith in Jesus.
Discouragement sometimes comes with the territory, but Jesus calls us to action. Discouragement becomes a teachable moment—an opportunity to discuss with your students the grace of God in your life and theirs, and the power of faith in Jesus. With Him nothing is impossible!
- What in your life might be causing Jesus to say, “How long shall I put up with you?”
- Where in God’s Word can you find encouragement to battle the times when you are experiencing discouragement?
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your boundless gift of grace in our lives. In times of discouragement, Lord thwart the plans of Satan, and encourage us by Your Word and Your presence in our lives. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.