In thinking about going back to Ambato for the second half of my contract with Extreme, I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t a little nervous. There are many changes in my attitude and level of passion that I want to make, and I am praying that God will infuse these things into my character. I know that all the power and passion in my life must and will flow out of the secret place that I share with Christ. Knowing Him must be my greatest priority and focus.
I read 2 Timothy this morning and was both encouraged and challenged. One of the verses that spoke to me was 2:15: “Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive His approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.” Sometimes we can use the life of faith as an excuse to not work hard. We say we are trusting God to bring about the success in our lives, but I am learning more and more that true faith works harder because of that faith. True faith realizes that it is a partnership and that a life lived in response to God’s initiation will never lack for something to do. Even in seasons of waiting, there are active steps that must be taken. Like the message from Facing the Giants, there are times when I must prepare my field for the harvest and there are other times when I must reap the harvest.
2 Timothy 4:2 is powerful as well: “Preach the Word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.” In other words, I need to be on my A game, whether I feel like doing ministry or not. I need to be faithful and consistent. I need to always be teaching, because that is my role and calling at this place in my life. I need to be leading even when I naturally just want to fade into the background. I need to keep putting myself out there.
The most powerful verse for me this morning was 2 Timothy 4:5: “But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you.” You know what? The ministry I have right now is a GIFT FROM GOD. He is entrusting me with a piece of His Kingdom, and His command to me is to fully carry out that ministry. What a responsibility but it is also a privilege. Lest I become all-consumed and overwhelmed with the task; lest I am tempted to complain about the difficult things about my job; lest I am driven to do anything halfway, I must remember that it is a privilege to be entrusted with a piece of His Kingdom. The way of ministry is the way of suffering. Jesus makes it incredibly clear that we WILL experience suffering and persecution in following Him. In John 15:20, Jesus says that naturally we will be persecuted because the world persecuted Him. Then He says later in 16:33, “But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
I have read David’s writings in the Old Testament many times, and it always puzzled me how he could say that he delighted in and had peace in the commandments from God. However, this morning I understood that it is the command of God to fully carry out His ministry that ultimately gave me peace about going back to Ambato. Whenever I am reminded of the call of God, I just want to serve Him well. I just want to do what He has asked me to do with excellence. I just want to know Him and I want this passion for His Word and His presence to grow in my life. It is in these times of prayer that God restores my soul and gives me new strength to carry on.
Thank You, Lord, for the ministry You have entrusted to me. Walk with me and guide me in carrying out all that You have asked Me to do. I love You so much.