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Ministry Won't Always Feel Like Ministry

I've been thinking about this a lot lately. This false idea that ministry should or will always feel like ministry.

We like it when ministry feels good and looks good. We like it when we can actually see our ministry doing something good for this world. However, when we can't see that happening, we question it.

Are we still doing what God has called us to?

Is this what ministry should look like?

Should ministry be this hard?

Maybe I should quit?

Sometimes it's harder to see the mundane tasks as ministry. The dish washing, taking care of sick kids, changing diapers, doing the laundry, etc.

We have been in the foster care "ministry" for years now! 15 plus years ago when we served as house parents in a local group home it felt like ministry.

It felt like ministry... until it didn't.

The days were long and the nights were often longer. It didn't always "feel" like ministry when we were responsible for therapy appointments, doctor's appointments, taking kids to school, cooking dinner, being sure everyone was in bed on time and up early the next morning. It didn't "feel" like ministry when we would come back on shift to kids who were sick with the stomach virus or lice.

But it was ministry. Worthwhile ministry. True Kingdom work.

When we had one baby boy we fostered for 2 months and then he was gone, it didn't feel like ministry. It felt like confusion. When we had a child we fostered for 2 years and then he was reunified with his birth father, it didn't feel like ministry. It felt like heartache.

But it was ministry. Worthwhile ministry. True Kingdom work.

Now that we have 5 children, it doesn't always feel like ministry. It feels like exhaustion and chaos a lot of the time. It's loud and it feels like we get asked a million questions each day. It feels like the days are moving really slowing yet really fast!

The work we do everyday doesn't always "feel" like ministry. But, it is. Feelings are not always facts & so often, we tend to forget that.

I can't help but think of Jesus when I think about ministry not "feeling" like ministry. When he walked the earth, there are countless reasons and situations that Jesus found himself in that probably didn't "feel" like ministry.

Mark 15:1-5 says...

Very early in the morning, the chief priests, with the elders, the teachers of the law and the whole Sanhedrin, made their plans. So they bound Jesus, led him away and handing him over to Pilate.

"Are you the king of the Jews?" asked Pilate.

"You have said so," Jesus replied.

The chief priests accused him of many things. So again Pilate asked him, "Aren't you going to answer? See how many things they are accusing you of."

But Jesus still made no reply, and Pilate was amazed.

Now it was custom at the festival to release a prisoner whom the people requested. A man called Barabbas was in prison with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the uprising. The crowd came up and asked Pilate to do for them what he usually did.

"Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?" asked Pilate, knowing it was out of self-interest that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him. But the chief priests stirred up in the crowd to have Pilate release Barabbas instead.

"What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews?" Pilate asked them.

"Crucify him!" they shouted.

"Why? What crime has he committed?" asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, "Crucify him!"

Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.

We know how this story ends. Yet, while it was going on and Jesus was being nailed to the cross, did it feel like ministry? No way! It felt like a pain we can't even comprehend.

Jesus' whole life was ministry! He was on mission from the moment He took his 1st breath. Yet we know that Jesus' life wasn't easy! However, He came with a mission and regardless of how it felt, he was going to be obedient to His Father!

Can we say the same?

I know, for me, when life gets hard, when the days get long and the ministry isn't going the way I planned.... I question.

Am I still doing what God has called us to?

Is this what ministry should look like?

Should ministry be this hard?

Maybe I should quit?

Yet that's not what we see Christ do. He persevered and obeyed to the point of death, even death on a cross (Phil. 2:8).  The Bible even tells us that through suffering Jesus learned obedience. Hard to understand but it is clearly stated in Hebrews 5:8.

We can learn from others and the choices they made, but God calls us to imitate Jesus.(Eph. 5:1-2)

So, when ministry doesn't feel like ministry for you, keep pressing on & look to Jesus' example! Be encouraged by Paul in Philippians 3:14 who says, "I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."

Mama, I know the days are long and taking care of these kids is an honor but also really hard sometimes. Foster care is ministry and even though it doesn't always feel like ministry, doesn't mean we quit or question God's purpose for our lives. Our comforts and desires sometimes must be pushed aside for the work of the Kingdom.

Ministry is measured by God's perspective, not man's emotions.

God, would you align our desires with yours? Would you fill us up when we are empty? Would you sustain us for each day, each moment, each second? Thank you for the calling you have placed on each of our lives. We know you are producing something in our lives as well as these kids lives that we may not be able to see, but we trust that you work in the unseen. Thank you for the work you ARE doing! Give us your strength and we know you will equip us for the things you have called us to.

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