What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each.  I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.  So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.  He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor.  For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building. (1 Corinthians 3:5-9)

How has your week been?  This month?  What about this past year?  There is a very real chance that as you look back you can remember different struggles and obstacles that left a mark on your heart that didn’t feel too good.  And it may be that the scar hasn’t quite healed, the rebuke hasn’t ceased from your ears and the hurt hasn’t gone away.  You find yourself asking, “Is this the way ministry is supposed to be?”  And the answer is “yes.”

“Yes” because ministry is about us in the midst of a broken, sinful world working alongside and serving broken, sinful people while bringing our own shortcomings into the mix.  Yet, we continue to give of ourselves because we understand that something bigger is at work.  We understand that God is working in us, through us and all around us to impact the lives of people with the love and truth of Jesus Christ.  We get to experience forgiveness, restoration and hope both within ourselves and also in the lives of others as we faithfully serve.

Ministry will be difficult but make no mistake, God is at work and you get to be a part of something special.  Somehow the heartache and the headaches seem to diminish when you see a family restored, a student coming to the realization of what God has done for them through Christ, or one of your members getting baptized.  Hope seems to well up when you are hugging the discarded, feeding the homeless and worshiping side by side with your brothers and sisters.

You make a difference.  So when the tough times come in ministry … and they will come … hold onto that thought.  You make a difference because God is making a difference in you.

Dear Lord, thank you for the blessings you provide for me each and every day.  May I be faithful to use these gifts to be a blessing to others.  And Lord, as you will, use me to make a difference.  May my words and actions bring you glory as others hear and see your love and truth through me.  I am yours.  Amen