December 11, Tuesday

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“Gratitude in Ministry”

Ephesians 3:7-13 (ESV)

Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. 8 To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, who created all things, 10 so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. 11 This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him. 13 So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory.

Recently, my infant daughter has been having a minor sleep regression: She wakes up in the middle of the night crying and not being able to soothe herself back to sleep. It reminded me of when she was first born—for the first three months she was relentless in not being able to fall asleep without constant rocking and shushing. I remember having feelings of resentment, and even Googling, “Why do I get mad when babies cry?” Then one day, as I stared into the eyes of my daughter, I thought to myself, What a privilege it is to raise her! I’m so grateful that God has stewarded her to me, entrusting me to care for this baby girl.

Paul is a prisoner for the sake of the gospel–and to a certain extent, it’s for the sake of these churches that he helped plant and nurture. Yet he doesn’t mind the suffering, but he sees it as a gift of God’s grace, that God would entrust to him this wonderful message of salvation for all people. He is grateful that God made him to be a minister of God’s grace. Wow! I am struck by this attitude since I certainly don’t always see it that way. Sometimes, I am more like Moses, who complains to the Lord: “Why have you brought this trouble on your servant? What have I done to displease you that you put the burden of all these people on me? …I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me. If this is how you are going to treat me, please go ahead and kill me—if I have found favor in your eyes—and do not let me face my own ruin.” (Numbers 11:11-15).

If you have ever been in a position of leadership in any capacity, you’ve probably shared Moses’ sentiment before. Maybe you’re even going through it right now, feeling burnt out by ministry and the people that you minister to. Today, instead of continuing in that downward spiral, let’s instead be grateful that God has given us the privilege of co-laboring with him. Whether you are a pastor, an elder, a deacon, a small group leader, a ministry team leader, or serving in any capacity, let’s choose to thank God for this gift of grace. Especially when it comes to dealing with other people, let’s be grateful that God has given us people whom we can minister to.

Prayer: Father God, I am once again reminded of the privilege to be considered worthy to be a minister of this precious gospel that You have entrusted to me. Even if the situation and circumstances around me is tough, help me to choose joy. Help me to see the opportunities You have given me to minister powerfully in Your name. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Proverbs 12


Lunch Break Study

Read 2 Samuel 23:13-17 (ESV): And three of the thirty chief men went down and came about harvest time to David at the cave of Adullam, when a band of Philistines was encamped in the Valley of Rephaim. 14 David was then in the stronghold, and the garrison of the Philistines was then at Bethlehem. 15 And David said longingly, “Oh, that someone would give me water to drink from the well of Bethlehem that is by the gate!”16 Then the three mighty men broke through the camp of the Philistines and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem that was by the gate and carried and brought it to David. But he would not drink of it. He poured it out to the Lord 17 and said, “Far be it from me, O Lord, that I should do this. Shall I drink the blood of the men who went at the risk of their lives?” Therefore, he would not drink it. These things the three mighty men did.

Question to Consider

  1. Why does David refuse to drink the water that the men brought to him?
  2. After understanding why David pours out the water to the Lord, what does this show you about David’s leadership?
  3. What type of a leader are you? Do you see yourself using people for your personal gain or do you bring them closer to the Lord?

Notes

  1. It almost seems ridiculous that David would pour out the water that these men risked their lives for. But if you read closely, you’ll see that David pours out the water before the Lord, signifying that this type of devotion that the men showed was to be reserved for God alone.
  2. David values each of his men and he doesn’t pour out the water out of contempt for his people, but because he understood the sacredness of this devotion. He did not just use people for his own personal gain, but brought people’s devotion to him to the Lord
  1. Personal reflection.

Evening Reflection

What is your view of your role as a minister? We believe in the priesthood of all believer,s where we are all called to minister in the family of God. Do you do it joyfully, or with complaining? Ask God to give you a joyful heart as you serve the people He has entrusted into your care.

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