Paul gave us an insight of his attitude toward ministry in 2 Corinthians 4:1,"Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart."
There are two areas we seem to consistently struggle with in ministry, one being pride, the other discouragement. This verse speaks to both! Consider again what Paul says, "...having this ministry by the mercy of God." Paul didn't say, "Because I am so talented, gifted and intelligent, I am now in ministry!" Actually, Paul addressed his credentials just the opposite in Philippians 3:7, "But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for Christ."
When our ministries are going well, it is easy for pride to come into our hearts. It's far too easy to feel good about right decisions, good sermons, powerful worship sets, and having people brag on you. Paul warns us to not get caught up in ourselves, “…I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think..." Romans 12:3
The second part of this verse brings us even more encouragement! "...we do not lose heart." Why did Paul not quit his ministry? Because he understood that ministry was not in his strength but rather through the mercy of God! The incredible grace that God had lavished upon him drove him to persevere. He said in 1 Corinthians 15:10, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.”
When we think of our ministries, can you and I really say that we have this kind of attitude about the place in which God has placed us? Or do you catch yourself saying things like, “I don’t deserve this”, “people should treat me better” or “why am I wasting my time here?” This is not the attitude that Paul models for us. Rather, he reminds us to look to God’s mercy and find encouragement and hope in Him.
The next time, my brothers and sisters, you get discouraged, or the next time you get prideful...let these words of Paul resound in your heart and steady your soul..."having this ministry by the mercy of God."
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