Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” (Matthew 16:24-25)
It was a difficult evening to say the least. I know that you have had them. You felt in your heart of hearts that you were being led in one direction and everyone else felt differently on the direction the ministry should go. And so, for some time, political maneuvering, parking lot gossip and so forth had been pummeling your emotions on one side while spiritual conviction and personal determination pushed back through the maelstrom. The time had finally come, the lines were drawn, a decision was made and you stood…all alone.
All alone. Hurt. Temporarily bitter. Somewhat confused. And yet, you knew. You knew that you had been faithful to follow where the Holy Spirit was leading. Come what may, you had been diligent to listen, consistent in prayer, considerate of concerns and various opinions and articulate in sharing where you felt God was leading you and why.
Most didn’t have ill will towards you. Matter of fact, they had a seemingly good plan and many of them wanted to support you as long as it was within the context of their plan. But, in the end, they just didn’t get the bigger picture. Have you had those similar situations in your ministry?
Think to a spontaneous man named Peter who wasn’t about to let his teacher, his friend, go to the cross. He had a good plan and a strong conviction. Given some time, he probably could have given you the pros and cons of his plan as compared to what Jesus had in mind. But amidst his proposal he was missing the bigger picture. Jesus, being faithful to His father, was going to the cross. And nothing was going to deter Him from that.
At times, our strong desire to be faithful to God’s calling and the certainty of His direction will bring us into conflict with others; especially within our own congregation. These are difficult times in ministry and ones which require a lot of prayer, faithful counsel, an open heart, attentive ears, steady patience and, in the end, a course of action. May God grant you wisdom, courage and clarity as you seek to follow Him.
Lord, as your redeemed child, I want to be faithful to you. Help me to hear your voice clearly and give me the courage to live the life you would have me to live. Also, I pray that you would help me to be a reflection of you within the role of leadership you have placed me in. Forgive me for my failures and help me to be forgiving of others. Thank you Lord for all that you do, have done, and are doing in me and through me. Amen.